Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become advertisements for one another. Don’t expect do make a lasting impression or do business from just 1 visit, relationships and trust take time!

1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others. It is a two-way process.

2. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts (like we do at Biz’ee Women), rather than on strictly making business connections.

3. Visit as many groups as possible that are of interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another?

4. Hold volunteer positions. If you feel you have a flare in a particular area that would help build the group then speak with the organisers. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows others that you are interested in them.

6. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

7. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. What is your USP? In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.

8. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.

9. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honour that and your referrals will grow. And don’t forget to say ‘Thank you’.

10. Call and/or email those you meet. Connect with them via Social Media.
Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together for a one-to-one. By speaking and connecting more after the meeting will allow for more conversation and relationship building.

Remember it’s not just the person you meet that may be a potential client it could be all the people they have connections with too!