Why I approach networking like going to the pub

Francesca Baker

Francesca Baker And So She Thinks - copywriter and content marketer -

I confess, I’m not the most corporate person out there. I like to smile, be chatty, and get to know people I work with. I’m good at my job, extraordinarily efficient, and get great results. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring.

I’ve always found business networking pretty painful. I’ve tried those early morning meetings and found I couldn’t stomach the full English at 6am at a motorway hotel.

I’m not comfortable recommending people who I don’t really know, just because the networking group demands a certain number of referrals. And I get really bored making small talk.

I also hate it when someone is dismissive and rude when they realise you won’t make them any money immediately. Hey, I’m still a person.

Selling doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not against selling. It’s vital to having a successful business. But I think there’s a way of doing it. And the way that works for me when it comes to business networking is approaching it like I would the pub.

Show up

If you say you’re going to be there, be there. Don’t leave your mates waiting, and don’t commit to a networking meeting or event that you can’t really be bothered to do. Turn up on time and be present.

Ask questions

We all love to chat about ourselves. The most engaging people are those who ask questions and learn. We’ve all switched off when people drone on about themselves after a few pints.

The same happens in business networking. Ask questions of people and get to know them. They’ll remember you as someone keen to build a relationship.

Be helpful

You can be helpful when it comes to business networking. That doesn’t mean you have to carry the drinks or stand around. But be supportive and offer your advice when warranted.

I get a lot of my work through Facebook groups and I think it’s because I offer advice and share my tips and learning.

Show enthusiasm

We would always rather spend a Friday night with people who smile and look like they’re having fun.

Yes, business is important (although not as much as some people make out), but there’s no need to be dry and boring whilst you do it. Look like you’re enjoying yourself and want to be there.

Be someone people want to hang out with again

Ultimately referrals and business relationships happen when people want to spend time with you.

If you’re good at what you do, helpful whilst you do it, and personable and good to work with, people will want to hang out again – in the pub or in the meeting room.

Drink wine

Well, why not?

What do you think?

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