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Okay, so it’s the perfect month for schmoozing and you’re ready to go get ‘em… but where to start? It’s hard to remain calm, collected and yourself with the fuss that this romantic time of year brings. But in actual fact, this is a great time of year to stand out – by doing something different. People and businesses alike will be doing anything and everything to outshine each other, perhaps what you should do is take a step back, and simply keep it real.
The only way to grow is from the ground up. As should your marketing skills! It will do wonders for your business to find networking groups and events that are local to you, rather than large scale functions for greater areas. Having a close-knit network is the best way to start a larger, tighter web of like-minded people in your industry. Plus, local events are often much cheaper and far more relevant.
First, drill down exactly what your business does and how it does it better. Then, reduce that into one or two sentences that flow nicely. When you introduce yourself and the obligatory question is asked, “What do you do?” you’ll be prepared. Being able to pinpoint your business’ strengths and offerings easily and confidently will surprise people more than you think. How many times have you received a long-winded presentation in answer to that question? And by the end of it, were you still baffled? Exactly.
Not only will the above make you memorable, but handing physical reminders helps too. You guessed it, business cards. But – is there something different you can do (shape, graphic etc.) with yours that will make them stand out even more? How many run-of-the-mill business cards do you get given? How many do you keep? What makes you keep the ones you do? These are all questions you should be asking when you design your own.
Sure, this one is a ‘given’, but if you haven’t prepared yourself in your own way, you just won’t be confident or comfortable. So, are you confident that ‘winging-it’ will work for you? Great, go for it. Or, does really preparing for a social networking event help you feel as strong as you can? Whatever helps you to feel most confident about yourself and the business you are representing, do it. But remember – it’s still just about meeting and enjoying conversations with people. Don’t take it too seriously!
These days, the nice guy never finishes last. People like nice people! The more considerate you are, the better. Work on listening more and speaking less, make sure you are asking more questions than you are answering, and try not to get too carried away talking about yourself and your business. Often, when we’re nervous, we let this happen and can ruin a potentially fruitful relationship. A conversation involves at least two people – keep that in mind.
There are your five simple, yet effective, basics for good communication and great networking. Sometimes we forget that the most important things are to remember who we are, what we do, and why we do it. It also helps if you love doing it – your enthusiasm will shine. So, here’s to a February full of rubbing elbows and tapping glasses!
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