As margins become squeezed ever tighter, the need for a business to diversify their model and step out of their comfort zone is taking on greater importance, because income from a number of different sources will become the business model of choice for many businesses.
But how does a business diversify? How do they expand their contact list to take in new, influential business contacts?
Well, the answer is by networking. Put all your pre-perceptions to one side and forget what you already think you know about it and take a look at how forward thinking businesses are developing their relationships to originate new, profitable streams of income.
The very mention of the word 'networking' makes a lot of people break out into a cold sweat, the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and saying 'hello' is just too much for some peole to bear. The problem is that these old style events do nothing to help you develop new contacts as they are not organized with the correct goals in mind. All events where people meet need to have an element of formality about them but also need to ensure that all attendees feel relaxed and comfortable enough to open up to each other but there are also a number of things you can do to ensure you become the Grand Master of business networking.
1. Ensure there is a set agenda, a set goal or objective that people will be aware of before they sign up to attend. If people all have the same intentions then it makes for a much better, more forecful and more pro-active event.
2. Give everyone a name badge or button. It does not matter if you have a Chief Executive or Chairman of a multi national organization attending, the importance of a name badge can not be under estimated. It makes everyone equal and the awkwardness of not knowing someone's name is taken out of the situation.
3. Make sure there is a facilitator at the event. This ensures that if things begin to go a little bit stale then the facilitator can speed things up and move things along.
4. This last point is the most important. Make sure that you tell everyone who attends that their objective when they attend is to come away with a minimum of 5 business cards (if it is a 1 hour event) and a minimum of 10 business cards if it is a all day or evening event . This focuses people's minds and ensures that they know exactly what they have to do.
We guarantee that if you implement these few simple tips then you will have the most productive and energetic business networking meeting that you will ever have attended.