Networking, When, Where and Why

Most people could definitely benefit from some helpful networking tips!

For many people networking can seem like a painful exercise. They are afraid of saying something stupid, not knowing what topics to talk about or possibly just find themselves wandering about. Most people could definitely benefit from some helpful networking tips!

For the most part, networking is a procedure for generating new business leads. The purpose is not to sell but to establish a rapport with someone that will allow you to follow up with later on. It differs from a social event in that your goals are different.

According to a study by the University of Michigan 25 percent of us suffer from “smalltalkaphobia” or fear of small talk. In a business environment we often don’t know the people we are meeting and we are not sure how to approach these strangers.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if you suffer from “smalltalkaphobia”.

Do I use any excuse to avoid a networking event?

When I am in a small-talk situation, does the conversation lead to an awkward silence?

Do I worry that I won’t know what to say when I approach someone?

Am I afraid the other person will ask me a question about a topic I know nothing about?

Do I worry I will say something offensive or stupid?

Am I reluctant to join a group of others talking?

If you answered yes to 3 or more questions you suffer from “smalltalkaphobia”.

Even though networking can cause us much anguish, it is the best way to create and expand your business. People will buy from people they like and from recommendations from people they trust. In a social setting people get a better idea of who you are. Consider this, according to the U. S. Census bureau hiring executives rank good attitude and good communication skills some of the qualities they most consider important when hiring a new employee. It would stand to reason that people you do business with will look for those same qualities.

Networking offers specific benefits to you an your company. Below are seven benefits from business networking

Extend your reach
Increase your company's name recognition
Generate new leads
Find other companies that can lead to new relationships
Referrals from leads you generate
Statistically networking leads to larger contracts
A networking lead takes 30 percent less time than a traditional marketing lead

The best time to network can be stated, any time and any place. There are places and times that can be the most productive. Seek out associations, professional affiliations and organizations that have members that you are looking for in a client. You may also want to seek out associations with members that can introduce you to the client you are looking for. Do your research and establish a goal before you attend any networking event.