Venus Award Semi-Finalist Lisa shares her tips on successful networking

Lisa is dead chuffed to be in the semi-finalist stage for "Networker of the Year" 
Venus Women in Business Awards - the event on Monday 27th February at Marshalls Reading was a fantastic event, celebrating Women in Business and she was proud to be a part of it. 

Networking is such an important part of my business, and the fact that I’ve been nominated has focused my thoughts on why I love that aspect of Pickle Marketing.

Here’s my guide to what makes a good networker, based on my experiences as a member of the BNI Reading Central Chapter, an amazing group of energised, engaging and helpful business people who have grown to become the flagship BNI Chapter in the Thames Valley.

I take over the role of President on April 1st and we are moving to a swanky new venue at Green Park Conference Centre as we have outgrown our existing meeting place.

Top tips for networking


• Show an interest in others. The golden rule of networking, in my view. The bores who talk about themselves non-stop or their own challenges and worries get nowhere. Yes, if someone asks you about your challenges it’s rude not to respond to their question, but we each have two ears and one mouth, so that gives us a clue as to the right proportion of listening and talking we should do.


• Be a giver. No need to expand on that. Just be a giver.


• Be clear in your own mind what you bring to the group. Have confidence in your ability and knowledge so that others are in no doubt that you are the authority on your topic and that your advice will be invaluable.


• You should also be clear about what you require from any given networking session. If you are seeking a particular type of referral then be succinct and clear in asking for it.


• Be specific about your reasons for wanting to meet with someone outside a networking event. ‘Can we meet for coffee is an open-ended request that leaves the other person unclear about your intentions and concerned that you will take up their time on a fishing expedition. Better to say ‘May we meet for coffee for 20 minutes because I’d value your views on …’ and then be clear about what it is you’d like to discuss.


• Help people out. If someone drops some of their papers, be the first to help them. If a newcomer looks lost, identify who in the group has common ground and introduce them.


• Dress well. Not to impress or to show off, but to show people you care. Ask the question: ‘Would I like to meet me looking that that?’ And it’s not just about clothes, personal grooming counts, too. And have the same standards – never make the special effort for one person and not another.


• It’s not about thrusting a business card into someone’s hand as soon as you meet them. Never offer a card or contact details until someone asks you to. Yes, be prepared, and make sure your cards not only carry the relevant, up-to-date information, but that they are a polished product which truly represents your high standards.


• Be a good conversation starter. Keep abreast of current news, and always aim to have an interesting fact available. ‘I didn’t realise this, but did you know…?’ and then share your snippet and you not only have a conversation starter but you leave the other person grateful that you have given them a little bit of knowledge that they didn’t have at the beginning of their day.


• And finally … have you noticed that listen is an anagram of silent? When you’re with another person at a networking event offer them the courtesy of your full attention rather than looking over their shoulder for the next person to speak with. Button your own lip, stop talking, and be a good listener.


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