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How To Get Results From Online Networking

Online networking became essential during the pandemic and is still popular even though restrictions have been lifted. Many business owners prefer the convenience of logging into zoom rather than having to travel to a venue, pay for parking, and lose valuable time that could be spent working.

Online networking also provides a valuable opportunity to connect with business owners from all around the country and beyond, rather than being limited to meeting those within the local area. Check out these tips to get the most out of online networking meetings and make sure your time is well spent.

Don't Be Late

Would you want to work with someone who always turns up late for meetings? First impressions count and lateness gives an impression of poor organisation and a lack of respect for other people’s time. Turning up late also means that you’ll miss the start of the meeting and won’t get the chance to say hello to the other attendees before it begins.

Keep the 30 minutes before the networking event is due to start free. This means that you won’t be late if your last meeting overruns, and you’ll have time to grab anything you need and log in to the meeting 5-10 minutes before the start time.

Look The Part

Dressing professionally shows the room that you take your business seriously. While you definitely don’t need to wear a suit, office wear or smart casual clothing (from the waist up at least!) will create a great first impression.

If it’s cold, either turn the heating up or hope that the excitement of networking keeps you warm. While everyone knows that heating is expensive, huddling in a coat or dressing gown certainly won’t position you as a successful business owner!

Nail Your Pitch

Most meetings allow you to give a 40-60 second introduction to explain who you are and what you do. Taking the time to prepare a pitch that shows the value you add and why people should work with you will position you as a confident, capable, and experienced business owner. You could even hire a copywriter to write one for you!

Make sure you stick within the time limit. Going over will mean that other valuable parts of the meeting will have to be cut down or that the meeting won’t finish on time. Your pitch should leave people wanting to learn more about what you have to offer, not bored.

Limit Distractions

While some distractions are unavoidable, it’s best to keep these to a minimum. Staying engaged with the meeting will help you to get the most out of it, and answering the door or carrying out household tasks could lead to you missing something important. Make sure your phone is on silent before the meeting begins, and only answer it if it’s a real emergency.

Try not to schedule deliveries to arrive while you’re networking, and make sure any pets have been outside and are comfortable before the meeting starts. Headphones or headsets can help to reduce or eliminate background noise and will also make your voice clearer. Treat a networking event as an important client and give it your full attention. This will demonstrate that you’re committed to creating new connections and helping your business grow.

Take Notes

Have a notebook and pen to hand and write down the names of anyone you would like to follow up with after the meeting, along with a few key details about them and their business. This will help to get the conversation started during a 121 and show them that you were listening.

Having a list will make it easy to go through and reach out to people after the networking event. Don’t forget to save the chat so you have everyone's contact details.

Ask Questions

Most online networking meetings offer a chance for you to speak to other attendees either 121 or in small groups. No one likes to feel bombarded with sales pitches, and everyone likes to talk about what they do, so asking questions will make you stand out as someone who is a pleasure to interact with.

Ask enough questions so you can decide if a 121 would be worthwhile, but not so many that it feels like an interview (or even an interrogation!). Gaining an understanding of the other businesses in the breakout room also means that you can use general examples of how you’ve helped or could help businesses like these when it’s your turn to speak.

Looking To Grow Your Business?

Consistent online networking is a powerful way to connect with potential clients at a very low cost (or even for free!). My free e-book ‘The 4 Challenges Every Business Owner Faces…and How To Overcome Them’ discusses the benefits of networking in more detail.

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, why not book a Business MOT? This will take an in-depth look at your business and provide actionable steps whether you are just starting out, more established, or anything between.

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