We’ve all heard of the saying ‘its not what you know, but who you know. Networking efficiently is known to be one of the fundamental factors that will help grow your contact list. Creating relationships with people, will pay off at times when you need a favour.

[quote]”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”[/quote]

Before you even get to the event, here are some golden tips:

1) It always helps to be able to prepare by researching the people who are attending the event you are going to. So there’s nothing wrong with contacting the organiser and asking for the guest list of the people that are attending the event. We’ve all been to events whereby you feel it’s been a waste of your time. By asking for the guest list, it will allow you to evaluate whether the attendees are people you would want to network with, thus will save you time should you feel that certain events aren’t worthwhile attending.

2) Having business cards with you at all times, is an efficient way of exchanging details with somebody. For ‘cheap and cheerful’ business cards, visit Vistaprint.co.uk. They usually have promotional deals whereby you can buy 250 cards for £2.50 (excl. VAT and p & p) – you can’t go wrong. Also keeping a pen on your person will allow you to make quick notes on the back of the business cards you receive, which will help you to remember the person better when following up.

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We have exclusively provided our readers with some pretty clever tips, which will enable you to network in the most efficient manner, as well as avoiding awkward situations whilst you are at the event.

3) Be confident! Even if you’re not generally a confident type of person, act confident. Have your chin up, walk with confidence and when it’s all over, you’ll be proud of yourself for the number of useful contacts you made with the fantastic lasting impression you’ve imprinted on others. Believe me, it’s always worth it.

4) Analysing somebody’s body language for 5 seconds can immediately signify whether they want to talk to you or not. There are different types of groups in which you approach in a different manner. There 4 groups of people: individuals, couples, trio’s and groups.

i) If you see an individual standing by themselves – it is the perfect opportunity to approach them and introduce yourself.

ii) If a couple (i.e. two people) are standing opposite each other and their shoulders are directly parallel to one another – they are in a ‘closed’ conversation. This usually signifies that they do not want any other person to disturb or join their conversation, possibly because they are talking about something secretive. However if they are standing slightly at an angle to each other – this usually signifies that they are open for another to join, typically this is the case if the one person is boring the other.

iii) Trio’s and groups follow the same rule as couples. If all three members of the trio are standing in such a way that their shoulders are nearly touching each others, this means that the group are content speaking purely with each other, and don’t wish for any other additional member.

However in all these cases, even if the couple, trio and group of people are standing in a ‘closed’ formation, those who are brave can join, by simply touching their back to get their attention and then swiftly introduce yourself with the following;

You: ” Hi, I’m Adam, may I join you?”

Them: (typically will respond with the following): “Of course you may Adam.”

You: “So what is the topical conversation?”

From here on the conversation should naturally start flowing. For a more in-depth video and article about body language, click here.

5) If you can’t think of anything to say in conversation don’t ask “why?”. By doing so, you may come across that you are questioning his/her intellect. Instead do ask, How?, Who?, When?, Where or What? questions. 

6) Dont interrupt the person talking when you are in a fluid conversation. Instead be a good listener. You may profoundly disagree with their views, however if you evidently show this, you may end up in a full on argument – making a scene to other people. Thus putting them off speaking to you.

7) If the person you are talking to, is boring you, or if you want to move onto the next person, there are many ways to politely leave a conversation. It’s common courtesy not to dump people. Dumping is when you leave your partner by saying something along the lines of “I’d better let you circulate” or “Anyway, I’m going to grab a drink now, so I’ll speak to you later on.” Instead what you can say is There’s Richard Branson, would you like to meet him?” or “I’m going to grab a drink, would you like to join me?”

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8) Finally follow up the contacts you made within 2 days. They’ll be no use to you if they forget who you are. Send them a ‘connection request’ on LinkenIn, and ensure you write a brief message reminding them where you met, and possibly mentioning a few of the points you talked about to show that you were interested in what they were saying. Feel free to ‘connect’ with me on LinkedIn, and mention you got my contact details via reading this article.

If you have any tips on networking efficiently, we would very much like to read them in the comments section below.