There are a multitude of reasons why people attend business networking events. But the millions who do it all over the world, week in, week out, do it with one intent: to grow their business!
At Business for Breakfast (BforB), we totally endorse that intent. But to us, business networking is about learning, supporting, educating, listening, understanding, and having a bit of fun while you’re doing it. Structured and organised, but with an informal feel to it is how we like to describe our meetings.
What we don’t want is for anyone to feel nervous; intimidated, even. Networking should be enjoyed, which is why it is important there’s a fun factor to a meeting. But most importantly, networking is your opportunity to promote your business; and hopefully win business as a result of it.
At a BforB meeting, everyone in the room is invited to stand-up, introduce themselves, and tell other members and guests what it is they do, and the kind of referrals that would be helpful to them – it could be, for instance, that you are looking for a lead into a particular industry, or for an introduction to a managing, or financial, director.
Which means that the 60 seconds opportunity you have is so important. Opportunity knocks. But you would be surprised at how many people feel nervous or intimidated by it. But don’t be. It’s your opportunity to announce yourself. Embrace it; who knows what might materialise from a one-minute pitch.
- First of all, be confident and proud of who you are, and who you represent.
- Tell the room your name, and your company.
- Then say clearly what it is you do and offer, and how that may be of use not just to others in the room, but also to people they know, and do business with themselves. Indeed, the important point you are making, is how your business, and the services you offer, can be of help to others.
For instance, you’re an accountant – but you specialise in tax, and how to avoid paying too much: you’ve caught our attention! Or you’re a social media specialist who can help you raise your profile online, and generate more leads because of it; again, you would be catching the attention of the room, because many openly admit social media is a chore!
- If you can, give out some useful advice.
If you’re an HR specialist, you might want to tell the room, for example, about a new Government workplace directive that has just been announced, and invite them to speak to you about it after the meeting if they’d like any further advice. Most of us employ staff, and I’m sure we would be interested in picking your brain for more information. If you’re a Public Relations consultant, perhaps give a topical example of someone, or something, in the news that has been a PR hit or miss.
- And round off your 60 seconds by repeating who you are, and what you do. If you have a catchy strapline, use that: you would be surprised how many people would remember that!
Networking is to be enjoyed, not feared. If you don’t shout about yourself, no one else will, so go for it, grab the opportunity, and make people want to do business with you, or at least feel confident enough to take a few of your business cards and hand them out for you.
Ultimately, you’re networking because you want to grow your business. At BforB nothing gives us greater satisfaction than helping you do it!
For more information about BforB, visit groups near you or book www.bforb.co.uk/groups, or call us on 0330 333 5023