Be aware of your body language

Anxiety is easily transmitted and makes the other person really uncomfortable. Be calm or at least try to appear so. Body language is really important for every networker, so you have to be very observant. In particular you should know about business and personal space. Business space is about one meter apart and conveys proper business distance, whilst personal space is much closer – by crossing that line you might make the other person feel uneasy. Sometimes you enter the room and just do not have a clue where to go or who you want to approach. Closed and open groups are key guidelines here, so body language will show whether a particular group of people is inviting new people to the group or is so engaged that it is not advisable to join it.

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Can you network with competitors?

Just got this message from Barbara who is a graphic designer:

“Hi! I am following all of the posts and learned quite a bit how to network with other businesses. Thank you for that. What happens is that on some networking events I come across people who are doing the same or similar things that I am doing and it keeps me wondering how can I network with them? Is there any special etiquette? Can we find maybe some common ground in business? I will appreciate your advice”

The answer is quite simple, yes! Your competitors can be a great source of business and contacts, and forging competitive partnerships can help you grow your business more quickly and easily. Please find below interesting article by Ivan Missed about ways to transform your competitors from adversaries to friends to increase sales.

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The art of elevator speech?!

Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to find investors or other experts to help you start your business or a business veteran with long service on a market you have only got limited time to land a great first impression with your elevator speech. It is an American term which is also known as an ‘elevator pitch’ – as if you were to meet a potentially crucial person for the first time in an elevator/ lift and he/she asks you: “What do you do?” You then have no more than 60 seconds – perhaps just 10-30 seconds – between floors to catch this contact’s attention so that the person asks for your contact details. If you talk too much & too fast like a machine gun, the listener will become bored, or think you are a nutter or too rude. Problem & Solution! You got to be specific & concise but mainly it’s worth to show you have clearly defined the problem your service or product is solving.The challenge is to get the contact to understand what your business is about and what it can do for them. If you have a bit more time like 60 seconds then it is great to tell a story that will uncover problem & a solution. A clear problem statement will help you focus your speech on product/service and solving that one problem on the market. Can you introduce your business as a solution for a specific problem?

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Remember to follow-up!

You have made initial contact and connected with many crucial people for your business, but networking is not successful if the relationship does not continue, therefore the follow-up is essential to achieving success in your networking. One thing is sure: you are in charge of your own business and client development, so start networking now, from your computer via emails and social media. Start going to networking events and try to become an “ultimate networker”.

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Be prepared for event networking!

Before attending any networking event remember to take your business cards. Make sure you have some loose cards in your right-hand pocket or in a place where you can reach them easily.

Prepare your “elevator” speech – or several versions of it. In reality you have about 30 seconds to make a lasting impression on whoever you talk to, therefore, a good elevator speech should concisely describe what you and your company can offer. I often make an effort to check a list of those attending and research the people or organisations prior to approaching them. Nowadays, you can do it very quickly using the internet. LinkedIn, in particular, allows you to do basic research.

Arrive before the start of an event on the off-chance that you may come across guest speakers or people in charge of the event and have an early opportunity to connect with them. Once there, connect with new people. If you arrived with friends, it’s best to split up and approach new contacts. Be a good listener, do not spend the whole time talking about yourself. Ask what other people do. The more you listen the more you find out about other people, so don’t do all the talking as you will learn nothing about the person you are trying to connect with.

You cannot build and develop a trust when you show no interest in learning more about that person. Most importantly, do not try to sell. The best is “give and take” policy.

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Send introductory emails that will get replies!

Well, this is a fact that we are just busy people these days and there is often a high risk that your message gets tossed and your email & name completely forgotten. There is a chance that my approach can help you.

Just bear in mind that one rule applies when sending emails- do not sell. Check out the other person, make sure to find out what accomplishments and awards he/she or business achieved recently. Then write email which could say ” I admire your work and would like discuss further how we can help each other” or sth like that. It is never the same when I write emails and I love finding out more about people, but thanks to that I’m usually prepared.

I keep emails as short as possible. My task is to convince the other person to check my message! I keep my emails down to three sentences that cuts out any trace of filler. If I email a director or other decision maker then I limit my text to a single paragraph and include web links so more information can be obtained.

I always suggest next steps and follow up. If my contact is genuinely interested in meeting me, I let him/her know how I would like to move forward.

Would you add anything from your experience?

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The art of business etiquette!?

Nowadays people seem to forget the importance of personal & business etiquette like remembering people’s names, business card protocol, eye contact & body language, introducing others properly or greeting people with a firm handshake.

Follow Life Networker to find out more about business etiquette

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Event networking tip of the day!

Arrive early! Why does it matter?

When you attend a networking event or business conference it is always useful to arrive early, because you have a chance to engage one-on-one with a few attendees before all of the noise and bustle sets in. You also have the opportunity of meeting speakers or the organisers which in many cases tend to be a very good contacts for your career or business. You can also get the first impression in people’s minds before they are full involved in business cards and handshakes.

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