As we reach the midway point of our A to Z (unless your alphabet of choice is Khmer – Google it!) we take a leisurely look at M to R. If you’re sitting comfortably, let’s begin ……..
M is for Making Notes
At every meeting, attendees will be given the opportunity to deliver their killer “elevator” pitch: the golden 60 seconds to inform the group what they do, and what types of referrals and introductions they’re after. With the best will in the world, there is no way that your brain will remember everything – make notes if something piques your interest as you never know – someone in your business circle could be the ideal introduction for someone in the room.
N is for Networker
I’m guessing you’re now asking yourself “What is she going on about? I AM a networker!”
But ARE You? Really?
Being a true networker isn’t just about turning up to meetings. It’s about introducing person A to person B if you can see synergy between the two, it’s about recommending your fellow networkers to anyone you come into contact with who may need their services, it’s about giving testimonials to businesses in the room you’ve used yourself. Being a true networker also beings us neatly onto our O …..
O is for One To Ones
Getting to know your fellow group members is an integral part of networking. The meetings themselves can be busy and many stick to an agenda, leaving little time to get round to talking to everyone in the room – especially if it’s a large group with lots of members.
There are several ways to manage the one to ones: yes, they do take time, and can easily get in the way of running your business. Make a note of these tips – you can thank me later!
The traffic light system – when you first join a networking group, listen to what others have to say and make a note of how much synergy there is between you and each member. Then, introduce a traffic light system to “grade” how soon you need to arrange a one to one, according to the time you have available: a red light indicates that there is very little potential for your businesses to work together/refer. An amber light means that it’s definitely worth arranging a meeting as there’s a fair bit of commonality and interest, and a green light – get that diary out and pick up the phone now!
A good time-saver is to arrange the one to one session immediately after a networking meeting. This ensures that you will both be in the same place, at the same time, wearing your “networking” hats.
Set a time limit on the meeting: an ideal one to one should allow around 20 minutes for you to both speak freely about your own business, and a further 20 minutes for questions an potential for working together and referrals.
A one to one should NOT be one party pumping free information out of the other party to help their own business – this is called a paid-for service!
P is for Plan Ahead
If it’s your first visit to a networking group: where is the meeting? Is there parking on site? What time does the meeting begin – and end? Who else is in the group? Does the group have any social media presence, or a website? Is there an annual fee? What’s the monthly/ongoing fee should you decide to join?
Q is for Questions
A room of networkers is an invaluable source of knowledge and experience. If you have an issue within your business (or life in general!), or if you’re looking for something specific – ASK!
If you don’t quite understand what someone does for a living (let’s face it – we’ve all been left a little baffled after some 60 second pitches!) – ASK!
If someone puts out a plea and it strikes a chord within you – ASK if you can help them!
R is for Respect
Picture the scene: it’s your turn to stand up for 60 seconds and tell the room what you do. As you begin to talk, several members reach for their phones to check their emails, others start their own little micro meetings a few seats away …… random text message beeps are an old favourite too!
Respect doesn’t cost anything, and everyone deserves it. Switch your phone off, save the micro meetings for an appropriate break in proceedings and pay attention.
It’s not rocket science – it’s courtesy!
Well that brings us to the end of Part 3. Feel free to add your own comments or observations: have you ever had a mis-placed one to one, or struggled to talk over others at a meeting?