As human beings, we are naturally social and over the course of our lives, find ourselves at countless events and gatherings. Despite this inherent human trait, a lot of us usually fail to recognize the networking opportunities we stand to gain.
Being prepared and able to leverage on these opportunities is key. Opportunities don’t come at fixed times or when we expect, they usually come at times we least expect or are prepared. An opportunity to network with a potential business client may present itself on a weekend in a most informal setting when it seems we are least prepared. In essence, we should always be prepared to meet every opportunity regardless of the timing with our very best.
Having this “it’s a weekend and I’m not at work” attitude has cost lots of businesses high paying clients. The skill to be learnt is how to balance business with pleasure or relaxation. The long-time phrase “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy” still holds true today; while it is important to take some time out over the weekend or on free days after a stressful week to cool off, it is imperative to also understand that the opportunity you chose to ignore today may never happen again.
Consistency in building a strong business network and keeping a sharp eye out to recognize opportunities are key qualities for business growth. Recognizing a lead and maximising opportunity of course doesn’t mean you should go harassing people who are trying to relax and have a good time. Just like the Boys Scouts motto, always “be prepared”.
We have compiled a 5-step process to guide you in achieving your goals and they are as follows:
Clearly define your business goals. Write it out and make adjustments if necessary.
Define your Potential target. Decide the kind of network you need to build to achieve your defined goal.
Rehearse! Remember to go over what you will say, being courteous and exchanging pleasantries. Most of the people worthy of your network are leaders in their own right. It is important to be polite and brief. If you perceive that you are intruding or disturbing, calmly back down in a way that a future conversation is still possible.
Have an alternative; so you don’t restrict your mind to a particular set of people. Have an open mind and don’t limit yourself to just prospects.
Set a weekly networking time budget for you, it could involve planning on being at some specific events or venues where your potential leads frequent. This does not mean you should stalk people, you might get in trouble with the law for that.
Watch out for Networking Tips (Part 2) Until then, Keep networking.