In the corporate world, the majority of working professionals have technical expertise and competencies, but much less of them have sharp skills in business communication, an overarching term which sales communication and business networking come under. I heard many years ago that the richest men and women in the world, like Bill Gates for example, do not hide in their offices and apply their technical skills most of the time. So what do they do? They go out into the world and meet people: build up their business networks, give and get referrals, arrange joint ventures, seek expansion through opportunities and ideas etc.
We should not blame ourselves for being late bloomers at business communication. We were not brought up and educated in it. Technical skills come first because it is fundamental to the production of goods and services, yet the rule of thumb in business is the salespeople who bring in the most customers get the most commissions.
Since you have come this far in reading this post, at least you can now begin to appreciate the long-term importance of business communication. Today’s main topic is about business networking and how to go about meeting people productively in a networking event.
Like everything else in life, we may freeze in fear at trying out new stuff and gaining new experiences but with habitual practice, we will settle down in our hearts and minds and apply new skills as in a normal routine.
As a set of guidelines, here are what you can do before, during and after a networking event.
1) Network with purpose: Define what you want to get out of it. This will help to filter out the unsuitable networking events or environments. Set a goal like how many people are you going to speak to, or how many business cards to collect. Prepare your positioning statement.
2) Research background details about the networking occasion: Who are the hosts? Who are the sponsors? What is the main theme of the event? Who are the guests? Who are the main speakers?