1. Hard selling – networking is about making connections, if you connect with someone and think there might be an opportunity to do business with them, make a separate appointment to meet them away from the event.

2. Turning up without your business cards. This is not only annoying for someone who may want to do business with you, it can make you look either disorganised, unprofessional or ‘aloof’ and not willing to connect with others.

3. Trying to speak to everyone in the room – this is not normally possible anyway. If you do manage it, the connections you will have made will not be very strong and you will be forgotten very easily, probably before you’ve even left the building. Having a few meaningful conversations with people is a far more valuable use of your time.

4. Giving out negative vibes - be careful of the silent signals you are sending out. If you are nervous or shy are you giving off signals that could be misinterpreted as ‘aloof’ or disinterested? Even if you are the shyest person in the world, make sure you smile at people and keep your body language open.

5. Mass emailing all attendees after an event to introduce yourself is just really annoying and unlikely to gain you any new meaningful connections. Only send emails to people you really want to connect with and ensure the email is tailored to them and not just a generic sales pitch.

Want to get better results every time you network?

Book on our CPD Accredited Networking Masterclass and learn the art of SUCCESSFUL networking.

All of us love getting positive feedback: especially when involved in new ventures.

Setting up a new business can be one of the toughest things you can do, you put your heart and soul into it, mentally, physically and financially.  It can be a very lonely place, full of pockets of doubt mixed with moments of elation, times of great frustration and also great joy, a very unsettling but amazing time.  Certainly not for the fainthearted.

Receiving positive feedback on your ideas, products and services can be one of the best things to keep you going.

I have recently set up two new businesses, and I’m getting all of the above emotions x two. However, I can honestly say that the amazing feedback I’m getting from others is what keeps me believing that I’m on the right path and that they will both be successful.

I have received so many positive responses, on my ideas, my courses and from my speaking engagements, that I feel very privileged to be able to follow my dreams in this way.

If you know someone else in this position, help them along with a few words of encouragement and some genuine feedback on what they are trying to achieve.  It could make all the difference to them and you never know what they could achieve because of it.

My networking training courses have had such great feedback that I’ve uploaded the planning section as an online course that people can take without leaving the office.  Very few people actually plan their networking, and even seasoned networkers have said they found this extremely useful and not something they have thought about in detail before.

Check it out for yourself, http://www.courses.parrotenterprises.co.uk the first 5 people to take any course on my site will receive a 50% discount – use the code Blog5 to claim your discount – but be quick if you want to use this code.

thumbs-up.

We are all aware of the importance of branding to an organisation, but how many of us spend time thinking about our own personal brand?

I’m not talking about having your own personal logo, that would be a little bit strange, but about what you will personally be remembered for and how you are perceived in the eyes of others.

Your brand could be a mirror of how your business is perceived or totally different but it will impact how people see you, interact with you and ultimately how successful you are.

It will be affected by your beliefs about yourself which will, consciously or not, be portrayed to others by your actions. Your self-respect, your self-worth and your self-confidence all play a part and you need to decide what you believe about yourself and how this relates to your actions and ultimately your brand.

If you have negative beliefs, you can change them, start by changing your internal voice, you know the one that tells you you’re not good at something, never tell yourself something you wouldn’t actually say to your best friend.

Actions are another indicator of personal brand. Whatever you do, it will be noticed and influence people’s perceptions about you.

If you fail to deliver something you promised, even if it’s very small and unimportant, people will remember this and it will affect how they see you. Will they trust you with something important if you can’t deliver the little things?

How do you behave around others? Do you act the clown, when you actually want to be taken seriously? Do you act aloof when you would rather be known as friendly? Act how you want to be known.

Your branding can also be impacted by what you wear, we all judge on appearance, whether we like it or not. People take one look at you, sum you up in five seconds and then treat you accordingly. So make sure your clothes are living up to the brand you want to portray.

Your thoughts, actions and behaviour all form part of your personal brand and only you can control your them, so make sure you know what your brand says about you and how this is affecting your success.

Those of you who run small businesses will be able to relate to this dilemma. When do you muddle through a business issue and do it yourself and when do you spend money and get the professionals in to help?

Most of us will get an accountant in, even if only to check what we have done at the end of the year as getting the accounts wrong can be very damaging to your business. However, what about other areas such as Marketing and PR, these can also be two aspects that if done wrong can be equally if not more damaging.

How many small business owners, who aren’t experts in Marketing and PR try to do it themselves with very mixed results.

After trying to do just that, I recently took a step back and decided that instead of stressing myself out trying to do the best I could, I would get the professionals in.

I’m so glad I did.

I turned to two of my long standing contacts, one for PR and one for Marketing. Gareth John of Wordcaster PR and Martyn Brown from Marketing Bugle. I have worked with both Gareth and Martyn in the past and they really know their stuff. (I can’t recommend either of them highly enough.)

Both have been great in guiding me away from making mistakes, some of these I needed to be persuaded were actually mistakes, but in the rapidly moving worlds of marketing and PR, even small mistakes can mean the difference between being successful or not or even between surviving or not.

By using their services, I am not only ensuring that I get things right, I’m also saving a huge amount of time which I’m now investing in the things I am good at and moving my business forward.

So my advice would be, look at your own skills, do the things you are good at, take advice where you can and if you are in any doubt about your ability to do a job to the standard it really needs to be done – get in a professional.

DIY vs Professional Help

Join us at this event hosted by the Digital Marketing Academy in Bournemouth on the 2nd September 2016 for this 20 minute mini session and find out why networking can be so scary.

Even seasoned networkers can feel intimidated walking into a room of people all talking in groups, none of which they know.  Find out why this is a natural reaction and how understanding this reaction can help you overcome your fear.​

For more details on the event including how to book click here.

Why is networking scary?

We have a limited number of places left on our Charity Networking Masterclass on the 19th August in Bournemouth.  This training course gives the same training as our standard masterclass but as this is aimed at charities the price reflects this.   With previous experience as a fundraising manager I will be able to bring personal experiences to show examples of what works and what doesn't.  For more details and to book a place email [email protected]

Lorna Trent Charity Networking