Business seminars are a great setting for networking with potential partners, clients and other similar-spirited people. In fact, networking is one of the biggest motives to participate in business seminars.
The right attitude towards networking is not “what I can gain” from the new relationship, but a deep interest in “what I can learn from this person”.
It has also been said that givers gain. Start by being interested in what the other person does and what his/her expertise is. You will surely notice that the other person will ask what your interests are.
If you really want to build a strong relationship start by offering your help. A good match doesn’t build up from your own benefit, but from a critical question: “how can I help?”
Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh in his book Delivering Happiness tells a bit about his networking philosophy. He has seen that when you are just focused on listening to interesting people and learning from them, usually you will also gain something very valuable from those friendships within a few years. So quality networking is not a sprint. It is a way of living and an attitude of general interest in other people’s talent and needs.
In addition to the right attitude and mindset, you also need the correct tools. Business cards are probably the oldest tool for networking, but they are still valid. Everyone knows how to use them. LinkedIn and Evernote’s Hello application are extremely good tools as well, but not everyone uses them. So make sure to always have plenty of business cards with you at networking events.
We, together with advertising agency Meom, just launched a brand new version of the Brella networking tool. During the last few months Brella was totally re-coded to fix bugs and to simply make it better and easier to use. At the same time the name changed from mBrlla to Brella.
Brella makes it possible to book face-to-face meetings with other guests at a conference. An active networker may easily book himself ten short meetings at a two day event. Brella even makes you matching according to your interests. Creating a profile on Brella is quick, as you can upload your personal data to it from your LinkedIn profile.
What usually goes wrong?
What mostly goes wrong in networking is the follow-up. We meet with an interesting person, but we just don’t bother to take care of the follow-up properly. Remember to do the homework. When you are back at the office, empty your pockets to take a look at all the business cards that are in there, connect with the people on LinkedIn or send them a friendly email and call the people that you would like to meet again to deepen your relationship. It is amazing how many people don’t do this.
My top hints for networking
1. Remember: Givers gain
2. Attend networking events
3. Take advantage of Brella networking tool
4. Have business cards on you at all times
5. Remember to follow up to continue the discussion