In a recent conversation with Sarah Owen of the Referral institute I asked her if she could share some networking advice. Sarah and her colleagues are experts in training people to gain business through their network from referals.
1. What is your approach to networking?
"My approach to networking is to go 'on purpose'. To have a strategy for what I am aiming to achieve at 3 levels:
i. How can I help others?
ii. How can I best honour the event?
iii. What are my personal goals."
2. How much experience do you have of formal networking?
"I started formally networking in 1984 in an employed role at Mappin and Webb – the Queen’s Silversmiths."
3. What advice would you have for someone new to networking?
"I would advise such a person to:
i. Have a clear idea of the goals you want to achieve by using networking and a simple plan to achieve the result you want
ii. Never do it alone! Always take someone with you or attend with someone you know – it is more fun!
iii. Make sure that you are participating in something which is aligned to your values and which suits your style
iv. Research before you go about what objectives the event claims to have, who is going to be there, what you can expectv. Be yourself and relax
vi. Don’t do too much networking – find what you like and stick to it – (don’t scatter gun)
vii. Don’t sell – no one came to buy!
viii. Focus on how you can help others and be clear how they can help you back – give first
ix. Don’t forget to look at your own network – often just as useful as meeting a lot of new people and starting from scratch
x. Follow up and track everything so in one year’s time you will have a clear idea of where to network and with whom."
Thanks to Sarah for sharing and I would add that someone new may well want to seek out professional training from experts like Sarah and her colleagues at www.referralinstitute.co.uk.