Networking tips when you join the Stansted Business Forum – managing your expectations


We currently meet for breakfast on the first Friday of every month at The Ash and Home & Eat. Be there from 7.00am onwards for a 7.30am start. We have a lot of interesting speakers and it is a golden opportunity for you to find out what everyone does and for you to let others know what you do.

At your first meeting we will pair you up with a member who can meet you and chat to you at breakfast to tell you how things work. We really do want you to feel at home and be part of the Stansted Business Forum to promote your business.

Here are some networking tips for you to think about when you come along to the breakfast meeting:

1. Don’t go into a room thinking ‘what can I get out of it?’ but rather be thinking about ‘What can I offer?’

2. Do not look desperate! Change your thinking from being desperate to make contacts to thinking about others in the group ‘Is there anything that I can offer or give out to others?’

3. Try not to be the needy networker, try to give and give some more – e.g. put someone in touch with an acquaintance or friend or someone else you know who could offer some work.

4. Make sure that you always take your business cards – offering a business card is a trade and make sure that you are not the sad person who leaves theirs in the drawer for the umpteenth time.

5. Always make sure that you give a good and firm handshake with a steady gaze into the eyes. Don’t have any clammy hands as it puts people off.

6. Have a concise story ready about what you do, give yourself 90 seconds to do this, practise if you need to at home to get the story right. Give people a sense of what you do and who you are. Do not ramble or go on too long.

7. Listen to others – the key is to listen more and to talk less. Give others a chance to talk about what they do and think about what you can offer that person (not necessarily all that you can do).

8. Mix with people from your own trade and other trades as well to get a broader idea of possible links or contacts.

9. Next day, log your contacts as this is really important. Most people who exchange business cards never look at them again, they end up in some drawer in the house. Follow up people as soon as you can from any networking event. Make sure you keep a record of their details. Write on the back of the card what people do when you swap cards. If necessary also make sure you write down what you have promised to do for them. Add them to social media to help you broaden out your contacts.

10. Make contact with others you have met either through social media or email.

11. Now this one is really important, do not always expect to get business from your first meeting with the Stansted Business Forum. It takes time to build up relationships with others.

12. Make time for networking before and after the breakfast. Try not to leave early and stay on afterwards to meet others and have a chat.

13. Don’t just ‘connect’ but build relationships with others. It takes time for people to develop confidence in you. Look at shared interests, you don’t need to be best friends with everyone but you might want to attend other events with someone else.

14. Networking is about building relationships and maintaining them.

These tips have been adapted from an article in the Daily Telegraph, by Josephine Farley

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