With the exponential growth of Social Media platforms and the continual requirement for an online presence, our “offline” etiquette is at times neglected. This, however, is where true personal connections are made, through face to face interaction with others, allowing for the exploration of beneficial affiliations and the development of professional relationships.
Generally, a networker is someone who engages in creating social connections for the sake of their business. However, a successful networker is the one who knows how to make the best out of every encounter.
As intimidating as it can be, especially for the introvert in us, networking is crucial when building successful business partnerships. Luckily, navigating a room in a networking situation is easily learned with a few simple steps.
Being a successful entrepreneur and someone who has had his fair share of networking opportunities, Ebraheem Al Samadi, founder of Forever Rose London, discusses his top tips to develop connections, stand out in the crowd, and be remembered by those you interact with.
1- Get out of your comfort zone
Humans are creatures of comfort — the place of minimal stress and anxiety, where we know what’s coming next and can plan accordingly. However, stepping outside one’s comfort zone is an important requirement in personal growth and building connections. How can you expect yourself or your business to evolve if you are continually performing the same routine without taking a step forward towards something new? Taking chances and putting yourself out there to meet new people will provide you with more doors you may not have realized were available. Have you wanted to take a meeting with someone you believe would be beneficial? Then pick up the phone and invite them for a coffee or lunch meeting. Chances are they will be more receptive to getting to know you if you put in the effort to meet them in person, rather than sending an introduction email. You really have nothing to lose by trying but you have everything to lose by doing nothing.
2- Be authentic
In the world of business, being authentic is about being true to yourself and this is important when interacting with new acquaintances. People can very quickly tell when someone is not being genuine so you want to ensure you are always being the real you. Open up and share your personal business journey, as well as any vulnerabilities you have had along the way, are all key steps to building an initial relationship and allow these connections to feel comfortable to open up to you. Simply put, identify your core values, discuss them openly and create a sense of authenticity and credibility.
3- Be prepared
Before you go to any potential networking event, it is important you understand the purpose of the occasion. Do your homework by researching why is it being held, the types of people who usually attend, and the dress code. By taking the time to understand the environment, you will not only feel more comfortable but it will also provide you with a clear plan on who you want to meet and what you want to get out of the experience.
4- Mix and mingle
Showing up at an event but then standing in a corner is not an ideal networking scenario. Take a moment to observe the room upon arrival and be prepared with a few talking points. Engage in mutual conversations and encourage others to open up. Remember, people love to talk about themselves so provide a few leading questions and allow them to drive the conversation. Most importantly, make sure to create memorable conversations with as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
5- Master the Elevator Pitch
People have a short attention span so at the crucial moment when you are standing in front of someone who could be valuable, be ready to provide them with something that will impact but not take up too much of their time. Work on a tight 60-second elevator pitch of your business to quickly communicate who you are and express your ideas. It acts as a buffer, giving valuable information in the shortest time possible. Remember, time is money so keep it simple and concise.