When you’ve been networking for a while it gets easier to enter a room and conceal any battle scars from earlier networking mistakes.
We may all be carrying around a few of those scars. Yet it’s what you do with them and how you make use of the lessons you’ve learned that will make you a better networker, turning woesome tales into wonderful ones.
Follow our 10-point checklist to avoid the networking woes and reach for the wonderful, with our cautionary tales of networking in West Oxfordshire.
Take the time to think about what you want to get from a networking group before you decide which one’s best for you. Think about what you want to achieve and what you have to offer – you’ll be more confident and ready to add value.
Practice makes (almost) perfect
If you’re nervous, practice before you go. Talk to people you meet, whether they’re in a formal situation or not - a coffee shop queue, on the train, at a social gathering. Practising in low-stake environments will help form a habit of open communication. Reaching out to just one person a day will mean when the stakes are raised, you’ll be ready to go.
When you’re talking with people at a networking meeting, let them have your full attention while that conversation lasts. Don’t be the person scanning the room for their next potential conversation while someone is trying to connect with you. Make each conversation count, it will be appreciated.
Make the effort
You wouldn’t turn up to a wedding in shorts and sliders, you’d be expected to arrive in suitable clothes. Rule out the beachwear and dress smartly to make a great first impression. It will give you more confidence and let people see you’re serious about yourself and your business.
Give and take
An attitude of what’s in it for you won’t get you very far. Turn this around and think about how you can help others, what real value can you add for the people you meet, and so many more doors will open for you.
Don’t get personal
Telling the networking member who provides the catering that the breakfasts are rubbish, asking an overweight woman if she’s pregnant, commenting negatively on someone’s daring new haircut. Don’t do this – it’s embarrassing and potentially hurtful. Keep your chat friendly and professional, and your more personal observations to yourself.
From not recognising people you’ve talked to before, to insisting to someone you just met that you’ve talked previously, the potential for confusion can go sky-high. You need a system and some common sense to keep track. After a meeting, make notes and keep a spreadsheet – anything that will help you avoid these mistakes and maintain genuine connections.
Think of networking as meeting people, and the stress melts away. A bad conversation doesn’t make you a bad person, and will quickly be forgotten. Focus on the wonderful and forget any networking nightmares you may have – pretty much anything can be overcome with a positive attitude.
Turn bad into good
If you’re open and honest and not trying to be someone you’re not, things will go better for you. We all make mistakes, so work it out and find a way to fix it – one day you’ll laugh about it and be glad of what you learned from the experience.
Be yourself from the start
It’s a cliché to say that people do business with people they like, but it’s true. Go to meetings as your best self, be helpful and add value – following these simple principles will take you a long way from woesome to wonderful.
Check Juice out by joining us at a Super Guest Day
Don’t worry, we’re the nicest networking group around! Any mistakes will be tactfully managed and you’ll be accepted warmly.
Even if you’re more fearful of the woesome than rejoicing in the wonderful right now, giving us a try will restore your confidence and open up a wealth of new opportunities.
Book a slot on one of our regular Super Guest Days in Witney, West Oxfordshire and leave woesome networking behind for good!