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1 why networking doesn't work 2 why do people find networking valuable? 3 how do i get in front of the right people? 4 how do i choose a networking event? 5 how do i get the most out of networking meeting? 6 how do i build my network? 7 how do you answer the question what do you? 8 how do you tell a good stiory? 9 how do you get the most out of networking? 10 how do i build trust within my network? 11 how do i follow up? 12 how do i get the best from 121 meetings? 13 how do i get people to refer me? 14 how do i manage my network? 15 how do i nurture my network? 16 how do i build advocates?
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Business Networking Blog

How to create a successful online networking profile
I recently wrote '10 tips for building business with the effective use of offline & online networks' in response to a number of requests for help with getting the balance right between offline & online networking. I also wrote about the subject in my National Networker Column last month, 'UK: How small businesses really network.'

With any online network your profile is at the heart of your experience. It’s how people can be sure they’ve found the right person when they search for you. Here are some tips on creating a successful online business networking profile from this month's NRG-networks Community Newsletter.

• Just like when you meet someone in person, your profile photo is the way people who meet you online can put a face to your name.

• What you write in your online profile summary is just like the 30 second introduction you’d give to someone you’ve just met, so don’t underestimate the value in spending a little bit of your time getting it just right.

• You can add a few carefully thought-out keywords to your profile to indicate how you’d like to be found when people search for you. Think about the things you specialise in and add them to the keywords section on your profile.

• Your education, your interests, and your professional experience are the kind of things other people are likely to find interesting about you and what you do. They trigger conversation and interaction. So make sure you add as much information as you can so people find you and ask to connect with you.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 13:09:00, 26 May 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Offline Networking,Profile,Online Networking
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What is the ideal sized networking group?
In my monthly column for the National Networker, 'UK: How Small Businesses Really Network' I wrote about the findings of some recent research conducted by Alan Rae and Lisa Harris. They studied how small companies network and establish the best balance between online and offline networking.

One of their findings was into the size of networking group favoured by their respondents. Most favoured a networking group of between 20 and 40 members. That supports the opinions that many people share when I ask that question at different group meetings.

It is also a figure that could be arrived at by combining the Dunbar number & the Pareto principle. According to the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained is about 150. The Pareto principle (or 80-20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Therefore if we have a capacity for about 150 relationships and 20% have the potential to be the most beneficial the ideal group size would be about 30.

What is your experience in different groups?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 22 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking Numbers,Networking Groups
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Building trust in networking
I have mentioned before the NRG-networks research into the process of building trust in business relationships through networking.

Alan Rae has conducted more recent research into the same topic and it's great to read that his findings support our own in his articles, Building Trust Part 1 and Part 2.

We identified a 4 step model for building trust, the Advocacy Model, and Alan identifies some of the key skills required:

- having the right attitude
- being absolutely clear about what you do
- being consistent
- being easy to talk to
- listening a lot
- finding helpful connections for the other person

He also summarises what it takes to make networking work really well:

"Above all you have to be clear about what you want out of it – be it collaborators, referrals, employees, introductions to finance. If you are helpful and you let other people know clearly what you do and what you want, consistently – then the magic will start to occur."

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 21 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Trust,NRG,Research,Networking Relationships,Networking Objectives
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Are you crystal clear about what you do?
My colleague Martin Davies related a great story about being clear about your target market in his recent post 'Be really specific when defining your Target Market'. It's great advice and the other really important thing is being absolutely crystal clear about what you do for them. The person in his story was very clear.

To get results and referrals from your networking you want your advocates to promote you and what you do when they spot an opportunity. Are you giving them a clear enough message to help them do this?

If you are not sure then ask a few of your good contacts to tell you what they think you do and who for. It can be a real eye opener and help you adjust your message to something much more effective.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 20 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,Target Market,Networking for Advocates,Referrals,Proposition
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Using Social Media to spread Word of Mouth
Yesterday I wrote about the conversation I was having with a Service Business Owner about Twitter. On Friday last week I attended an excellent presentation from Internet Pyschologist Graham Jones about increasing website traffic with 2 simple steps. The Two steps are firstly to generate regular and consistent content, then promote it.

Graham mentioned the drop in his web traffic when not signposting & sharing his content via Twitter. As I wrote in 'How do I use Twitter & Social Networks?' Twitter and other Social Media are great for sharing your expertise and building your reputation.

Are you utilising Social Media in this way?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 17:48:00, 19 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,Word of Mouth,Social Media
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Engaging in relevant conversations with Social Media
I was speaking with the owner of an Internet Services Business last week about the Seminar I attended earlier in the week from Grant Leboff. I wrote about Grant's views in my post 'Are you the answer for your network?'.

During the conversation he said that he wasn't really sure what to make of Twitter. I said that it was helping me to engage with interested people much quicker than has ever been possible before. Also to track the effectiveness of positive Word of Mouth for your business.

For example a few weeks ago one of the attendees at a monthly NRG Business Networking Event tweeted about his positive experience and a great presentation. The presenter, Ant Hodges, retweeted and one of his contacts asked "What is NRG". Ant replied "NRG is the most effective business networking organisation I have been part of - follow @DaveClarke or visit nrg-networks.com"

Are you engaging in relevant conversations online & keeping track of your 'Word of Mouth'?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 18 May 09
Tags: Social Networking,Business Networking,Word of Mouth,Social Media,Twitter
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Be really specific when defining your Target Market
At Network Central yesterday a photographer new to networking came over to the NRG stand. He wanted to know how networking might work for him. I asked how he got business - through direct mailing.

"What sort of response do you get" I asked - "Oh about 20%" he said. My jaw dropped and I asked how he got such a high response rate. "Well, I photograph babies and I subscribe to a mailing list where I receive details of women who have just given birth. Most women like to have a photo of their newborn!"

It just shows if you have a really specific target market and you know what they want you can get exceptionally good results.
Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 18:26:00, 16 May 09
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Having conversations that matter when networking
I was asked yesterday for a list of the people and companies that attend our networking events. It's a reasonable request as you want to ensure that you are using your time effectively when you attend networking events.

The question is often asked, but mainly for the wrong reason. People often ask to find out if potential clients will be attending. The right reason is to make sure that other people attend with things in common with you. Others that provide products and services to similar clients to you. That way you can have conversations about the things that matter to your clients and potential clients.

Conversations lead to more connections, relationships and advocates. Ultimately to many more potential clients than you can ever meet yourself. Better to think of the people you meet networking as a route to market and not the market.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 15 May 09
Tags: How Networking Works,Networking for Advocates,Networking Relationships
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Are you the answer for your network?
At a seminar this week at an NRG-networks event in London the speaker, Grant Leboff, shared his insights into the changes taking place in Sales & Marketing. The web has meant a revolution in communication and massive choice in everything that we need. When we need something now we do two things, we ask our network and we search online.

Do you have a strategy for building word of mouth for you and your business?

When someone in your network gets asked about a problem that you solve are you given as THE answer to that problem? You should be if your networking is effective.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 14 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,Sales,Word of Mouth,Marketing
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Be prepared for speaking slots
The seminar presenter at a recent monthly NRG London Charing Cross Networking Event was unavoidably out of the country and unable to attend. One of the members, Cali Bird, stepped forward and presented a great seminar on Time Management in his place.

She shared her expertise and inspired the audience to take some of the steps required to achieve their personal and business goals. She certainly built her reputation and will be at the forefront of the minds of the attendees when they see an opportunity for someone like Cali.

Sharing your expertise in this way is a great way of giving value and growing advocates for you and your business.

If you get the opportunity are you ready to speak?

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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Business Networking Blog > Posted by Dave Clarke at 8:00:00, 13 May 09
Tags: Business Networking,Networking for Advocates,Public Speaking,Managing reputation
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