1. Do your research: With four out of five UK professionals now on LinkedIn, it’s worth checking out the person or people you’re going to meet to see if you have anything in common – be it clients, colleagues or previous career experience. It will give your meeting that personal touch and help spark conversation.
2. Be approachable: Only 24 percent of Brits enter a networking situation ready to introduce themselves to people or ask questions to get to know others. It’s easy to stand out from the crowd if you’re confident and chatty – and focus on having a conversation rather than trying to gain new business. Trust us, it will make you much more successful in the long run.
3. Know how to charm: People love to talk about themselves so make sure to ask lots of open-ended questions. A good tactic, employed by one in five people, is to complement someone on what they’re wearing and take it from there.
4. Don’t just talk to people you know: Thirty-three percent of people head straight to the people they know when faced with a crowded room. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you ask those people to introduce you to others who might make useful business contacts.
5. Offer up your skills: Networking is about business opportunity – so don’t be shy. Find out what you can do for others – and what they can do for you – so you can begin to build a fruitful working relationship.
6. Enjoy yourself: Only 16 percent of people get excited about networking – but it’s an opportunity to build your personal and professional network. It often comes with great rewards like new business leads or finding talent to employ. So take a deep breath, relax and enjoy yourself – what’s the worst that can happen?
7. Don’t be a stranger: We’ve all been there: Got home from an event with a pocket full of business cards, set them aside and forgotten about them. Now is the time to change. Connect with your new-found contacts via LinkedIn. See what they’re up to. Send them an InMail to invite them out for lunch or a beer to catch up. You never know what they might be able to do for you. After all, it doesn’t hurt to ask now, does it?
8. Google yourself: Go on. One of the first listings you or anyone else looking for you will find is your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you put your best professional foot forward by having a complete and up-to-date profile.
9. Grow your network online: Make sure you connect with those you meet when networking. Share news stories and join Groups. It's these things that add colour and context to your online presence. Helping you firm up relationships with people from your industry, your business or simply those with similar interests.