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Business Networking Blog

Who should you invite along to your networking group?
Over lunch yesterday I was chatting with some colleagues about inviting guests to a networking group we belong to. One name was mentioned and someone said "No, all he will do is see it as a selling opportunity and give everyone the hard sell".

We then had a discussion about who would be right and someone summed it up nicely "I will invite the people who always look to add value first in any interaction. That's always a good sign that they understand the importance of building relationships first".

She was absolutely right. It's the people who give value first who will receive huge value in the long term.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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business networking | business networking events | business networking podcast

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:40:00, 08 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Groups
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Faster relationship building with Social Networks
In 'Can you accelerate trust?' I wrote about the process of building trust in business networking. The question of the time it takes came up again today in an NRG seminar on building business with the effective use of offline & online networks.

It takes time and regular interaction to build relationships as this graphic illustrates:



The old tools we had - address book, phone, mail and various face to face interactions have been supplemented by email and now social media and social networks.

That can help to make it all much quicker!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:40:00, 07 Oct 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Online,Facebook,Business Networking Techniques,Trust,Social Media,Networking Relationships
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Are you keeping up with your conversations online
I have blogged before about using Social Media and Social Networks to listen and engage in conversations. Here are a couple of examples from the last couple of days to illustrate this.

On Friday I blogged 'What is this #FollowFriday on Twitter?' and one of the people I mentioned was Jon Davey. Yesterday I received an email from Jon in reply because he had been alerted by Google Alerts. One of the thing he uses that for is to listen for mentions of 'Business in Berkshire'.

Yesterday I blogged 'Does it really cost that much?' and Nigel Morgan replied on Twitter, "If you question the value of networking, check the mirror!". A couple of people replied to Nigel on Twitter and then Nigel replied again, but on my Linkedin profile this time.

Are you listening and engaging online about things relevant to you and your business?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:40:00, 06 Oct 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Listening,Online,Linkedin,Social Media,Online Networking,Twitter,Conversations
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Does it really cost that much?
I have attended a few meetings recently where the attendees seemed to expect a professionally run event with profitable results, but without really paying anything. Do they all provide their services at no real cost?

Someone emailed me recently to ask about a networking event "does a meal really cost that much at ...?"

I answered "No, but running a professional organisation with high quality facilitation and attendees does. They are not a non profit!"

Networking in the right group means building trusted relationship that both increase the speed and lower the cost of business development. What value do you place on that?

See these blog posts for more on speed and cost of business development in business networking:

The value of networking for advocates
Saving time with organised networking

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:45:00, 05 Oct 09
Tags: Speed,Business Networking,Cost,Business Networking Groups,Trust,Business Development
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What is this #FollowFriday on Twitter?
In a One on One meeting earlier this week the other person said to me "I have just joined Twitter, what is this #FollowFriday?" I explained that on Fridays many people tweet the names of Twitter users they would like others to follow and tag the update with #followfriday. "Who would you recommend?" she said.

So far I have advocated these experts in their respective fields:

@ajwilcox Mind mapping generally and Mind Manager specifically
@andylopata Advice on effective business networking strategy
@AlanRae helpful stuff for growing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs
@askten interesting facts daily
@BernieJMitchell Everything networking in Kings Cross and Olympic 2012 Boroughs
@BookMarkLee Helping accountants and those who want to work with accountants
@GrahamJones Great insights on using the internet to really connect with people
@jondavey Business in Berkshire and New Business Leads
@nicktadd Help with twitter & other Social Media
@Nigel_Morgan PR advice on creating a great reputation
@NigelTemple Practical small business marketing hints & tips
@Richard_White Daily sales tips and recommendations from the Accidental Salesman®
@Rodsloane No bull small business marketing
@Thebookwright Unleash that book inside you...!

For the history of how this all developed see '#FollowFriday: The Anatomy of a Twitter Trend'

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:57:00, 02 Oct 09
Tags: Social Networking,#FollowFriday,Social Media,Twitter
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Can you accelerate trust?
At a recent event someone posed the question "what can we do to accelerate the building of trust within the group?" It's a good question as successful networking relies on the building of trust. I think there are some essential ingredients for building trust in a group including leadership and facilitation. The members must also 'buy in' to the process and be proactive.

A few years back we conducted some research into the importance of developing trust in business relationships as part of networking. The article 'Have you unlocked the benefits of business networking?' includes a link to the full findings. It includes a breakdown of the trust building process in business networking. If you are proactive and follow this you can accelerate the building of trust, particularly if you join the right networking group for you.

As I wrote in 'How to build trust in business relationships':

Building a trusted business relationship in a networking context is a simple process:
1. Make contact
2. Follow up
3. Form relationships
4. Develop Advocates

Like many simple things that does not mean it is easy!

These previous blog posts also address the issue of building trust in business networking:

The killer app in business networking
Building trust in networking
Nothing compares to the power of trust
Building trust with a new contact
Behaviours that build trust
What’s your NRG? Part Two.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:18:00, 01 Oct 09
Tags: Business Networking,Leadership,Business Networking Groups,Facilitation,Trust,Research
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What you say is less important ...
Have you ever agonised about what you are going to say to others at a networking meeting? Perhaps you have changed your mind as you listened to others. This could be in a 1 or 2 minute presentation or when someone asks the dreaded question, "what do you do?".

What you say is not the most important thing. What others say when you are not there is key. So spend less time trying to craft the perfect pitch and more time listening to others to find a connection and spark a conversation. It's during the conversation you find ways to help and demonstrate your value. People remember and talk about that far more then your initial pitch.

Success in business networking is not down to what you say about you, it's what others say. That makes what you do more important than what you say.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:26:00, 30 Sep 09
Tags: Business Networking,Listening,Business Networking Techniques,Networking Connections,Public Speaking,Conversations
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Something we don't know about you
Have you ever been to a business networking event and left feeling that you didn't really get to know anyone? The conversations at business networking events can be very dull if everyone just talks about their business.

At the more 'formal' part of NRG Business Networking Events we have an aide memoire to help people introduce themselves and their business. This includes the usual business stuff - name, business, target market and ideal connections. It also invites the person to share something about themselves that we would not know in the ordinary course of business. Often this is when people come alive, smile and reveal their true nature. Especially when they talk about one of their passions.

That often is the spark for a conversation with someone and a real connection where you get to know and like each other. It's those connections that lead to follow up and a good business relationship based on trust where you become advocates. That's when networking really starts to work.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 11:29:00, 29 Sep 09
Tags: Business Networking,Know,Business Networking Techniques,Networking Connections,Networking for Advocates,Business Networking Groups,Trust,NRG,Networking Follow Up,Conversations
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How does this networking work then?
In a recent three way conversation at a networking breakfast someone asked "how does this (networking) work?" and one of the others, a wealth management professional, told a quick story.

He explained that he had met an estate planning consultant about 6 months ago. He had got to know him and introduced a few people. He was then invited to a conference of lawyers, accountants and other professionals with an interest in estate planning. He had got to know a few of them and made a few more introductions. Recently the Estate Planner had given him a referral into one of the specialist family law firms he was hoping to build a relationship with.

He finished by saying "So that's it in a nutshell. I go to the networking groups where I will meet the right people for me, get to know some of the others, find out what they need and help where I can. Then good stuff happens for me."

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
Get 7 networking secrets for business success

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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 9:15:00, 28 Sep 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Business Networking Techniques,Networking for Advocates,Business Networking Groups,Referrals,Networking Relationships
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Talking about Politics and Religion when Networking
Conventional wisdom says you should avoid talking about politics and religions, but then someone once said to me that conventional wisdom is almost always wrong!

Many people think that the conversation at a business networking event has to be just about business, but in my experience people want to get to know you first. What makes you tick and what are you passionate about. That may well be business, but you will often make connections over your other interests first. So if your passions include politics or religion it's perfectly ok to talk about them as long you are engaging in conversation and not up on your soapbox!

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 10:10:00, 25 Sep 09
Tags: Business Networking,Religion,Politics,Conversations
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