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Susan Ward

How to Improve Your Business Networking

By May 22, 2013

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I hate business networking events. Most of my most successful business networking has taken place elsewhere; at charity and social events, through business organizations, through online venues.

Exchanging business cars at a business networking event.

So any tips that make attending business networking events more successful and less of a chore are much appreciated.

Tom Searcy provides some great advice for doing just that in The Schmooze-Hater's Guide to Better Networking (BNET), tips that got me rethinking my business networking moves.

For instance, he points out that when you're meeting new people, you need to ask better questions than the standard "What do you do?" and "Tell me about your company".

Same-old questions get same-old boring answers.

Instead, ask questions that both you and the person you're greeting will find more engaging, such as "What business problem does your company solve?" "What is the best example you have of how you are doing that?" - questions that will make your brief meeting more memorable and maybe even spark a true conversation and a relationship.

Do you have a business networking tip to share? Comment below.

More on Business Networking

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May 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm
(1) Sandra Eamor says:

I felt the same way when I was attending the big impersonal networking events. Luckily I’m quite social and I’m pretty good at asking good questions and getting a conversation going. I genuinely like to learn about what others do, and I love to help people by nature. I found that in my area (York Region) there weren’t very good networking opportunities for Small Business Owners so I created my own events to help connect and engage with local small business owners on a more personal level. With the help of other Small Businesses in York Region, I created The York Region Small Business Club which is more on an informal type of networking (through social media and in person events). Our events tend to be smaller (10-20 people) but very causal, informative, social and easy for people to get to know each other, even when they are shy. So, my tip to those who find larger events intimidating…look for smaller more intimate events that provide the same value but let you connect with a few people really well, rather than just exchanging business cards.

May 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm
(2) Susan Ward says:

Thanks for posting, Sandra. This is great advice.

May 15, 2012 at 2:18 am
(3) Billgreen54 says:

My staff and I read everyone of your newsletters Susan. There is always something useful and inspirational. Thank you for your insight and sharing your life experience. When I saw the word… Event, it stood out for several reasons. Social events are a great way to network your business and meet new friends. The past few months, we have used the E word for something a little different but, along the same line with a side bonus. Every Friday at 6, we offer all of our students the opportunity to attend a special paid event. All events are centered around what we do everyday… Teaching English. It’s amazing how many people come that we have never met before. We always ask for business info and if it’s okay to add them to our mailing list just after the event. We are a small language school in Nikolaev Ukraine. Thanks again for your newsletters. You would be amazed at how many people they have inspired.

May 15, 2012 at 6:39 am
(4) Dennis Chikwayi says:

Hi Susan

In my recent networking activities i have been using the “”What business problem does your company solve?” as my ice breaker.This allows the other person to talk more about themselves and giving you chance to listen and stir the conversation to the next level.By so doing i have created friends.The fisrt thing is crate a network of friends business leads will just fall on your “laps” Thanks for your practical articles

May 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm
(5) Susan Ward says:

Thanks for the tip – and the compliment, Bill!

May 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm
(6) Susan Ward says:

That’s a great opening, Dennis! I’m going to start using it myself. Thanks for sharing.

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