My regular readers will know that our very own beautiful Princess Lily The Lamb loves nothing better than getting out and about whenever the opportunity arises. She recently took a step away from her regular haunts of National Trust properties and country estates and embarked on her first ever business networking event!
On a warm, sunny Wednesday morning in the upstairs room of Lichfield’s Spark Café Bar, 22 women and one Princess Lily gathered for the first meeting of the Lichfield Women’s Business Brunch group – a newly formed networking group which has been put together by several local business women following the demise of a national networking club they all belonged to.
Lily looked very smart, sporting her brand new felty flower in her fleece and she was pleased to see a very good turnout for the first meeting, with a real buzz and lots of positive energy in the room – although at times her sensitive lamb ears were overcome with the volume of all those ladies!
Lily was amazed at how powerful business networking can be. Just by listening to what was being said, she learnt about 22 businesses, all local to Staffordshire and all run by women! For some in the room it was their first networking event, whilst others were old hands at giving their 60 second(ish) pitch and extolling the virtues of their products or services.
Lily picked up some valuable tips, which she’d love to share here with you.
- Don’t be nervous. Everyone experiences their first networking event at some point. Yes, it can be difficult talking in front of a room full of strangers but it will get easier over time
- Be yourself. People buy from people and the best way to sell your business is to act naturally and get to know others in the room
- Take lots of business cards! It may sound obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people go to a networking event without any ….
- Think before you speak. Sometimes nerves can make us talk faster which makes it harder for others to understand what we’re saying. Take a deep breath, stand up straight, shoulders back, chest out ……. and tell the room how great your business is!
- Respect the timings given. Most networking groups give members 60 seconds to present their “elevator pitch”. This doesn’t mean that you can talk for 10 minutes.
- Have an idea of what you want to achieve from the networking meeting before you even arrive at the venue. Are you looking for new business within a certain sector? Are you looking for someone who can help you with your business, such as an Accountant or VA? Being prepared will be far more productive that “winging it”.
- After the event has finished, remember those follow-ups. Too many of us are guilty of promising to connect and then never making that call or sending that email. Following-up is the key to successful networking.
The Lichfield Women’s Business Brunch meets once a month in Lichfield. For more information about meetings look for the Lichfield Women’s Business Brunch group on Facebook.
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