business networking tips

In this global age, working in silos to achieve business goals is not enough. You must also connect with global leaders, business professionals, and like-minded people from your industry to stay ahead of the curve. 

As a business owner or industry professional, business networking is critical for you to achieve personal growth and business development. It also involves attending events and meeting new people from your industry in search of new business prospects and innovative ideas.

Business networking can be rewarding because you can strike new deals, generate business leads, identify key trends, increase brand awareness, and gain industry knowledge. Even for small business owners, business networking is an effective way to market your business, make new connections, and learn about the best practices within the industry.

But how do you get started? Here are a few essential tips for efficient business networking: 

business networking tips

To know the business networking tips in detail, read on.

1. Choose the Right Business Event

The first and foremost tip for successful networking is knowing where to go to make business connections. Business conferences, meetings, events, and trade shows are great opportunities to network with people within your industry. However, it is not always possible for you to attend all worldwide events throughout the year. Hence, picking out specific events that offer business opportunities is essential.  

Additionally, they can also help you connect with other top professionals, such as a director or a CEO of a company, who may give you ideas for your business. Moreover, some of these events have presentations where the speaker may highlight new strategies or trends in the industry. This will help you stay on top of the trends and allow time to discuss them with others and what they mean for your business. 

2. Know Your Business

Before attending any business event, you must know about your business. Regardless of the networking channel you choose (virtual or in-person), people will ask questions about your company. Therefore, it is crucial that you know your business thoroughly. For instance, you should know what you are currently working on, your company’s vision and mission, policies, products, and services you offer, among others. 

Before attending any conference or seminar, figure out what does well for your business and what you can offer to others. Knowing your business allows you to communicate confidently with potential customers, business partners, vendors, and others. When you are confident, you create a good impression on them, and they are more likely to consider you a prospective business partner. 

3. Introduce Yourself

Introducing yourself can be the first step in networking, leading you to build an important business relationship or grab a new business deal. Sometimes, during a business meeting, you may just talk to a limited number of people with similar interests. However, that’s not the way to go. You must meet as many people as possible and introduce yourself. This helps you to build more connections and paves the way for good business networking.

You can always introduce yourself with your name, where you work, and a key detail about your company. However, if you don’t know how to begin a conversation, you can break the ice by complimenting their dress or asking about them. This way, you will eliminate the initial awkwardness and look more confident. 

It is also important that you know the business etiquette while attending these events. For instance, you can smile and shake hands with the other person. 

4. Hand Out Business Cards

There is no doubt that you should carry a stack of business cards to hand out to others for any business networking event. Carrying your business cards while networking provides you with more opportunities to share information about your company while leaving a lasting impression on those you meet. Most people forget to carry business cards or hand them out when they meet potential clients or customers. 

For many potential customers, a business card will be their first interaction with your company’s brand. It will make you look professional, build trust, and sometimes even sets you apart from your competitors. 

Your business card must have the following information:

  1. Your name, designation, and contact number
  2. Company name, logo, address, and contact information 
  3. Your company’s website
  4. Alternate contact numbers
  5. Social media handles

Remember that the goal of handing out business cards is to encourage and inspire people to launch a business relationship with your company. 

5. Pitch Your Business 

In any networking event, pitching about your business is one of the common methods for building new business relationships. Knowing how to build and deliver a pitch can help you gain more clients or potential investors for your business. When you pitch your business, you should give them a clear idea and understanding of your business goals and mission, so they know exactly what they can expect from you.

There are different ways to pitch your business to other professionals:

Sales pitch

A sales pitch is a short and brief message which attracts your potential customer’s attention and outlines your business plan, products, and services. The main aim is to turn people into potential prospects. 

Pitch deck

A pitch deck involves a presentation that outlines your business plan to potential customers or investors.  Your presentation must include in-depth information about your business goals, how you are faring in the market currently, marketing plans, products, and services you offer. 

Interrogative pitch

This kind of pitch involves asking a series of questions to others. The questions must highlight the pain points or problems they currently face and how you can solve them through your business services. 

6. Ask Questions about other People

At a business event, you meet various industry professionals. You will have to talk to them and introduce yourself to a few people. After introducing yourself to another person, it is better to ask questions about them. But, you may wonder how you can connect by simply asking questions. Well, showing genuine interest in the other person can say more about you than your talking. 

Ask simple questions such as ‘how was your journey?’, ‘what brought you to this event?’, ‘What motivated you to get into this field?’ etc. When you ask such questions, it shows you are truly interested in knowing about the other person, and you may even get common topics to discuss. This can be one of the major steps to building a great connection/network. 

7. Dress Professionally

Your appearance is the first thing people notice about you. Therefore, at networking events, you must dress professionally. Dressing professionally refers to wearing formal attire for an event or conference.  Also, you must dress according to the type of event. 

For instance, if you are attending a business networking event where senior officials from the industry, such as CEOs or VIPs, are attending, you must be dressed in business formal or semi-business formal. You must also remember the venue and the event’s theme and purpose and dress accordingly. When you dress professionally, you create a good impression on others, become a confident business professional, enhance your credibility, and show that you are representing your company. 

8. Use Social Media Effectively

According to Statista, social media usage is one of the most popular activities. In 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide, and the number is expected to increase by 2027. 

As social media is a continuously growing communication medium, the number of business professionals using it is also increasing. Hence, you should use social media platforms to connect with various business professionals within the industry. Your written communication can attract the attention of potential employers, customers, or clients to your portfolio and experience.

A few important tips on how to use social media effectively are mentioned below:

Write a brief personal message

When first contacting individuals, write a brief personal message. While writing it, remember to introduce yourself and mention the topic of interest that connects the two of you. If the other person responds to you, there are chances to build a relationship. 

Join groups or pages of interest

On social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, there are various groups and pages that are dedicated to the topics related to your niche or business. Joining these groups will help you connect with like-minded individuals from the industry who can partner with you or your company or give any insights about current trending topics. 

Write your own content

Most social media platforms these days provide you with the opportunity to create your own content, which can be in the form of blogs, videos, posts, etc. Posting content that targets your current industry or occupation can help show your professional contacts the knowledge and experience you possess. Sometimes, an individual who has noticed your work might contact you for a possible partnership or a new business deal.

9. Express Gratitude for any Insight Received

In business networking, expressing gratitude comes a long way. When professionals in the industry share their insights or advice, we just tend to listen and forget to thank them once they finish. Hence, it is important to extend your gratitude to them. 

Expressing gratitude to professionals, potential customers, or business partners is key to building loyalty and solid business relationships. It distinguishes you from a sea of competitors and becomes the basis for a powerful alliance. You can express your gratitude in various ways, such as by handing over a thank you card or recognizing them on social media. 

10. Exit a Conversation Gracefully

Conversations are a great way of networking, especially at any business event. However, the main aim of networking isn’t to meet as many people as possible but to make important and valuable connections. While it is essential to have conversations with various people, there are times when you may get disconnected from the topic. Knowing how to move on from a conversation politely is a crucial skill to have. 

For instance, if you are talking to someone for a long time but have to leave for some work, you can politely say, ‘I really enjoyed meeting you and speaking to you about your current project. It sounds very interesting. I need to go and talk to a few more people before winding up for the day. Kindly excuse me for this’. 

This way, you can exit the conversation gracefully without being very abrupt or offensive. This is one of the most vital business networking tips you must remember.

11. Follow-up Every Time

Networking can be a great way to make professional connections, but it is only effective if you follow up. Although it is a simple step, many professionals ignore or forget to follow up after meeting people. Following up with others can leave a lasting impression and show your interest in them. 

So how should you follow up? First, you can send a personalized message on LinkedIn or email them within 1 or 2 days of the meeting. This shows you are interested in keeping in touch. Second, you can call them over the phone and ask them if you can meet them outside for coffee or lunch to discuss this further. This shows your willingness to meet them. Post that, you can always stay in touch by sending occasional emails or talking on calls or messages.  

Business Networking Helps Boost Your Business

Business networking is one of the most vital processes for business professionals. Networking with like-minded people and industry professionals offers you a multitude of opportunities, such as business partnerships, new clients or customers, investments, and many more. More importantly, it also widens your sphere of influence. If you are planning to go on a business networking event, ITILITE can help you manage your trip better. 

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