Business Networking in 2022: What to Expect and How to Succeed
Networking is one of the most effective tools for business development. It’s a great way to connect with potential customers and partners and help you build relationships with other businesses in your industry. Additionally, networking can help you generate new ideas and perspectives.
One of the most important benefits of business networking is that it can help you build trust, which is essential for any relationship and often the key to success.
But, it can be intimidating to attend your first networking meeting. In this blog post, we will discuss what to expect at a business networking meeting in 2022 and how to become a networking superstar.
Types of Business Networking Meeting
In today’s business world, networking is essential for making connections and building relationships. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. Should you network online or in person? The answer, of course, depends on your goals.
If your goal is to connect with as many people as possible, then online networking is the way to go. With platforms like LinkedIn, you can reach out to potential contacts worldwide with just a few clicks. And if you’re shy or introverted, networking online can be a great way to build relationships without putting yourself out there in person.
However, in-person networking is the way to go if your goal is to build more deep and meaningful relationships. There’s nothing quite like meeting someone face-to-face and getting to know them personally. In-person networking also allows you to build trust and rapport more quickly than online networking. And if you’re looking for business opportunities, meeting people in person is often the best way to get your foot in the door.
In-person networking is more personal and intimate. However, you must invest your time and energy into attending events and meeting people. Additionally, in-person networking can be challenging to start if you’re introverted or shy.
So which type of networking is right for you? There’s no single answer. But one thing is for sure: whether you network online or in person, networking is essential for building relationships and furthering your career.
Tips for Networking Online
Business networking meetings can be a great way to connect with potential clients and collaborators. But if you’re used to meeting in person, attending a virtual networking event can feel a little daunting. So here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next virtual business networking meeting:
Dress the Part
Just because you’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean you should show up in your PJs. First impressions are essential, so make sure you’re dressed professionally from head to toe.
Mute Yourself When You’re Not Speaking
Nobody wants to hear background noise during a meeting, particularly the sound of your stomach dealing with the toast you just rammed into it in a hurry. So make sure you mute yourself when you’re not speaking.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Just because you’re not face-to-face with other attendees doesn’t mean they can’t tell if you’re slouching or looking bored. Make sure you sit up straight and pay attention to the person speaking to show that you’re engaged in the conversation.
Have an Elevator Pitch Ready
You never know when someone might ask you what you do, so it’s always good to have a 30-second elevator pitch ready. Practice it before the meeting, so you sound confident when it’s your turn to speak.
Follow Up After the Meeting
Sending a follow-up email or LinkedIn message after the meeting is a great way to keep the conversation going and build relationships with potential clients and collaborators.
Tips for Networking In-Person
If you’re new to networking, the thought of attending a crowded business mixer can be daunting. But don’t worry – with a bit of preparation, you’ll be schmoozing like a pro in no time. Here are some tips:
Have a Plan
Having a goal before attending any type of meeting is always important, but this is especially true for networking events. They can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to get sidetracked. So, having a specific goal will help you to stay focused and make the most of your time. For example, if you’re hoping to make contact with a specific person, you can use the event organisers’ list of attendees to plan your approach.
Use the Organiser
The meeting organiser is a vital resource that can help you connect with the right people. By clearly understanding the event’s purpose and objectives, the organiser can match you with other attendees with similar interests. In addition, the organiser can also provide insights into who else will be attending the event and how you can best approach them. Finally, speaking with the event organiser beforehand can pay huge dividends in terms of the connections you make. So if you’re looking to get the most out of your next business networking event, make sure to have a chat with the organiser first. You’ll be glad you did.
If you want to make a lasting impression at your next networking event, you’ll need to have some killer conversation starters up your sleeve. Small talk can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be painful. Use these tips to break the ice and get the ball rolling.
In general, ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking yes or no questions, try to ask questions encouraging people to share their thoughts and opinions. This will help you learn more about the person and give you something to build upon.
One great conversation starter is to ask about the other person’s work. What do they do? What do they enjoy about it? You can also ask about their goals and aspirations. What are they hoping to achieve in their career? This is a great way to get to know someone and find common ground.
Ask about their aims for the meeting. For example, is there anyone, in particular, they’re hoping to meet? Or find out how you can help them with their business – who’s their dream buyer, or have they identified any target companies who could become customers? You never know if any of your contacts could be helpful for them.
Another great conversation starter is to ask about their hobbies and interests. What do they like to do in their free time? What are their favourite books, movies or TV shows? Again, this is a great way to get to know someone personally. Finding shared interests is crucial in relationship building, so ask away!
Be an Active Listener
Picture the scene – you’re at a networking event, schmoozing with potential clients and colleagues. You spot someone you want to talk to across the room, so you make your way over. You introduce yourself and start chatting. But after a few minutes, you realise that the person you’re talking to isn’t really listening to what you’re saying. Instead, they’re just waiting for their turn to talk.
This is an all too common scenario when networking. That’s why it’s so important to be an active listener – someone who is fully present and engaged in the conversation. Active listening involves not only hearing the words that are being said but also trying to understand the underlying message. It means making eye contact, asking questions, and restating what the other person has said to demonstrate that you were listening.
Active listening is vital for networking because it shows that you are interested in what the other person has to say. It builds trust and rapport and helps create more profound and meaningful connections. So next time you’re at a networking event, don’t be that person waiting for a time to speak – be an active listener.
It might not be easy to do at the time, but making quick notes about the people you speak to can be helpful. It’s easy to forget names or what someone does for a living, and having a written record can save you from awkwardness later on. So next time you’re shaking hands and exchanging business cards, be sure to jot down a few quick notes about the person. It’ll make follow-up conversations so much easier.
Business networking can be a great way to meet new people, learn about different businesses, and find potential customers or suppliers. There are many kinds of networking events happening in your local business community, so it’s crucial to find the one that resonates most with you. After all, you’re investing your time and money and want to see a return on that investment.
But bear in mind that not all networking events are purely sales-focused. For example, Your Affordable Board (YAB) places emphasis on building a community of like-minded business owners/leaders who want a safe space to air and solve their problems. And sometimes, you need that space to be able to explore ideas without the pressure of your daily business tasks distracting you.
Why not come to a meeting to see if it’s for you? Click here to learn more about our events.