Networking – what is it exactly?

Some people think it’s just an opportunity for a natter and a hot meal – especially people who work on their own. This, for sure, is one of the reasons why I network. Since becoming self employed I miss the noise and bustle of a busy office and I’ve met some fantastic people through networking, who have become friends as well as business contacts.

The Business Dictionary gives this excellent definition of networking: “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question ‘How can I help?’ and not ‘What can I get?’.

It is easy to spend a small fortune on networking and hard to evaluate the ROI for your business, so it’s important to get the most out of every meeting you attend.

Following these Top Tips can help you get the most out of your networking.

6. Learn to park

Despite it being important to be enquiring and interested in other people’s business (see Tip 5) there is always one person who monopolises the conversation, who has no interest in you but wants to bore you rigid about themselves. These are the ones to ‘park’, but it must be done carefully so they don’t realise what you’re doing.

The trick is to firstly make sure you are standing in an open circle (see Tip 3) so someone else might join you. If they do, make your excuses “Oh, I must just catch up with…”, “Excuse me a moment…” And you’ve escaped!

If no one joins you, try (subtley!) looking around for someone to introduce to your little group and then make your excuses.

If all this fails, invite them to join you at the coffee station and then excuse yourself for a comfort break before the meeting begins.

If done well, the person you are trying to park will not realise what you are doing. Make sure you’re not the one being parked!

I hope you find these tips useful. If there is something you have found particularly helpful when networking, I would love to hear from you.

I organise a number of networking events and send regular updates of upcoming events to my mailing list. If you would like to be added to the mailing list please email me at Judith.kenyon@jaykayevents.co.uk

To see the full list of events available please go to www.jaykayevents.co.uk/upcoming-events

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