Business Networking Etiquette

Business Networking Etiquette

Before you head off to your first meetup groups here are a couple of ground rules you should follow for the right business networking etiquette.  First impressions are everything so let’s get your event off to the right start.

1. You have to give before you receiveProvide value to the group before you even consider asking a single person for a sale, meeting or what have you. Attendees particularly influencers are always being asked for advice or favors. Your first impression will be far more memorable if you help someone first.

2. Behave yourself at a meetup – The old saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, that doesn’t work anymore. Besides this is a business meeting and no one wants to deal with a class clown or even worse a drunk. In this day of social media it’s highly likely your antics could end up where you don’t want them to be…all over the internet.

3. Always be prepared – Treat a meetup group like any other conference or business meeting and be prepared. Be aware of the guests expected to be there, look over LinkedIn profiles ahead of time. The more information you have about someone the easier it will be to connect and ask the right questions.

4. Ethics matter – There are shady deals everywhere, save yourself the future headaches and just walk away. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. You can make good business deals without crossing your own ethical lines.

5. Influencers matter – Connect with the organizers of the event, volunteer to help out if you have the time. These people generally are well connected and know everybody at the event. This could get you some valuable introductions, speaking gigs and plenty of opportunities.

6. Make people feel included – Introduce people to each other and try and make those you meet feel welcome and included. This also applies to before and after events. Remember back in high school how awful it felt to be the kid left out, that still applies today. People will remember you when you make them feel included.

7. Pay attention – Focus on who you’re talking to and not looking around the room for someone more interesting. Aside from being incredibly rude this person may hold the key to a business deal in the future.

8. Keep your promises – If you tell someone you will get in touch with them at a particular time, then do so. This is not high school dating, you’re not playing hard to get so the other person will chase you. The most effective way to prove you’d make a good business partner is to be reliable ad do what you say you will do. If you need help keeping track write notes to yourself on the back of business cards, or set reminders inside your phone. Follow through with your commitments.

Those are the basic rules for business networking etiquette, for more tips on making your meetup a success watch the video below.

Choosing A Business Meetup Group

Choosing A Business Meetup Group

Today you can find a business networking group or event that’s happening every other day.  It’s hard to decide which ones are worth your time and your money especially if you’re new in business or organized networking.  You can’t go to all of them, you have a business to run.  It can be difficult choosing a business meetup group that is right for you.

Look at the cost

You will find free business events but more often than not these are more social events than they are structured for networking.  You have to find a way to network without annoying the other attendees.  You can avoid being annoying by not trying to sell to everyone that you meet, and  yes you’re likely to meet people like that at these events.  You need to look at these events as a way to build long term relationships with other business people.

Organized networking events usually have a fee to join or sometime of annual membership with a per-event charge for each networking event.  These types of networking groups are a lot more organized, there are refreshments, a nice location and the groups are generally very well run.  I would see if you can attend first as a guest before committing to paying money.

Is there a structure to the group?

Some networking groups run a very tight ship.  You are expected to attend regularly and generate referrals.  Others are much more casual and they are just as much a social event as they are business networking.  You want something a little more middle ground, enough structure so that some networking is done with enough flexibility to allow for some variation.  Some events are hosted by a member where they offer “expert” advice on whatever their business specializes in.  You should consider hosting an event yourself.

Consider the other members

Before you join a meetup group think about what you have to offer the other members in the group.  Who will you be networking with?  If you need to speak to large company directors you won’t likely find them at a local breakfast meeting.  Go where you’re potential clients are going to be. for example a search engine optimization group would be good place to go to meet fellow seo experts!

There are groups better suited to those in the trades rather than someone in a consultancy position.  Each meetup group is organized differently, with different hosting styles and contacts.  Once you do join a group make sure that you inform the host of your business and the type of clients you are seeking.  A good host will help put you in touch with the right members.

Take the time to find the right group for you, it will save you some time and money.  You want to meet potential clients and make the group worth your while.