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BUSINESS NETWORK EVENTS: HOW TO BUILD CONTACTS
Networking is an essential skill for most business people, but especially for entrepreneurs. The strong association between the entrepreneur as a person and his or her business demands that entrepreneurs get out into the world and create and maintain business relationships. Here are some tips and resources to help you improve you’re networking skills and extend your reach.
Think about why you’re going. What can you take from the event that will be of real value to you and your business? Prepare your introduction based upon how to build contacts with them. One of the things you can be absolutely certain of is that you will be asked who you are and what you do. Make it brief.
Plan your ‘contacts by opening remark or question. The questioning areas you may want to plan for could include:
• Their business background
• The state of their business in the current environment
• The main challenges facing them
• Their main competitors
• Their future plans and ambitions
On a practical front, make sure that you are well equipped with business cards, something to write on and a pen. Start off by introducing yourself to people who are on their own. This will allow you to warm up and get familiar with the environment in a relaxed fashion.
Approach smaller groups. This makes it easier for you to introduce yourself and engage with the individual members. Find out as much as you can about the people you are with and be prepared to offer any information, contacts, etc that may be useful to them.
Ask for their business cards so that you can:
• remember their names
• have a record of who you talked to and how to reach them
• use the back of the card to write down what you talked about, so that when you follow up you can remind them of your conversation