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One of the most successful ways we have grown our business is by attending Business networking events  From the very formal such as BNI to informal coffee drop ins we have been regulars at them all.  In fact as owners of thebestofhenleyonthames we've organised a few Networking events in our time too.  So based on our experience here are a few tips we've picked up along the way to help you get the most from the more informal networking opportunities.

Make a commitment
Even if you choose the more informal type of networking group, you will still get the most benefit by attending regularly. Over a few meetings you will get to know the other attendees and start to build relationships. It is always great to get to know the leaders of these groups too.  If they get to know you the good ones will help point you in the direction of the people you should meet.

Be friendly and approachable
People buy people.  If you make the effort to get to know someone they are more likely to want to help you.  We've met lots of great people and often will go out of our way to help them even if a connection isn't immediately apparent.

If you are nervous and don't know what to say, ask questions of the person you are speaking to and listen.  You can learn lots that way, good and bad.

You never know who knows who?

Even if at first the person you are speaking to appears to have nothing in common with you they may know someone who does.  The best business we've gained from this type of networking has happened this way.

Follow up
Only exchange business cards with people you think may be worth a follow up and ask if you can add them to your mailing list.  Please don't view these events as an opportunity to add lots of new names to your database, as it will backfire on you in the long term.

Keep in touch
Social media has made it much easier to keep in touch with the people you meet.  It's a great way to remind people who you are.


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