I've been going to business networking now for six years and been running networking groups for the last three, it's been a great way of gaining new business, meeting new friends, getting trusted suppliers, advice and support. I have seen some people get networking 'wrong' though here are some tips to help you be successful in your networking.

  1. Be yourself, people buy from people so don't try and be something your not.
  2. Find out how you can help others and connect them with other businesses 
  3. Win the 'You Game' aim to find out more about others, we all like talking about ourselves so aim to find lots about others ask: what do 'you' do.
  4. Understand that you may not get business from a networking group straight away it may even take a few months. Ask yourself what have I given?
  5. Consider taking up a role in a networking group, it builds your profile rapidly.
  6. Ask open-ended questions, Such as questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how, opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. by using this it opens up the discussion and shows people you are talking to that you are interested in them.
  7. The goal is not to get as many business cards as possible from the room but to have quality conversations and build relationships and get to know people.
  8. After a meeting send an email to those you have met saying it was good to meet them and you'll keep an eye out for business for them.
  9. Do not SPAM people and do not automatically add them to your newsletter.
  10. Add them to you contacts database and follow them on twitter and linkedIn etc to continue building the relationship.
  11. Smile - be happy and people will want to talk to you if you're not people will want to get away from you.
Good luck and happy networking.