How to Network; Essential Tips from Innovate UK

To be successful in business, you have to network. For some, this isn’t an issue. Some people can walk into a room, introduce themselves and walk out with valuable contacts. Others are not so keen. Talking about business to strangers isn’t natural. Introducing yourself to people you’ve not met before is difficult. If this sounds like you, there’s no need to worry any longer. Innovate UK have put together a helpful video of tips to help beat your phobia of networking. We’ve included a few for you below.

Pick the Right Event

So you want to network? It’s not enough to just attend a random event you find online. You must plan your attendance carefully. What do you want to achieve? What contacts are you hoping to gain? Are you looking for…

  • A partner?
  • Investor?
  • Supplier?
  • Clients?
  • Customers?
  • Or a mentor?

You should only choose to attend an event that can offer the outcome you desire. These events can be a real waste of time if you don’t go about them in the right way.

Make Connections Beforehand

So you’re not confident walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself. That’s not an issue. One of the best ways to prepare for a networking event is to look online at attendees and make your introductions beforehand. This’ll break the ice, help your confidence and ultimately make you more approachable too. There’s usually a pre-event buzz on social media. Get your name out there and start making conversation. This will also help you target which individuals you most want to speak to.

Maximise Your Opportunities

The number one rule of networking is not to talk about yourself too much. You can’t appear salesy or you won’t be taken seriously. Having said this, it’s always important to have an elevator pitch up your sleeve – you never know who you might meet. Tweet during the event using the designated Twitter handles and hashtags. This will ensure you stay visible throughout and make you more approachable.

Keep the Momentum Going

Once the event is over it’s important to follow up on your contacts. Email, call and connect with them on social media. Keep them updated on your progress and share more detail on points you discussed. Writing a blog about the event is the perfect way to stay on their radar. This is all about keeping the momentum going and staying in the memory of those you met. When enough time has passed, it’s worth evaluating your outcomes and whether your attendance was worth it. Once that’s done, it’s time to plan for your next event.

If you’re interested in seeing more videos like this, you can subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.

Alternatively, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter.