6 tips for successful networking in the big city

The question now is, What are you doing to increase the size of your network? Click To Tweet

You have probably heard the saying that “your network is your net worth”. In this article’s context, net worth is not limited to finances alone but includes knowledge, skills, and access to opportunities as a result of your network’s size. The question now is, “What are you doing to increase the size of your network?”

Networking simply means to form personal or working relationships with people in your industry as a means of knowledge acquisition or landing deals. We are officially in Quarter 3 of 2017 and if you have not already started, now is the time to build your network. Here are six tips for successful networking in a big city:

Step outside your comfort zone

Dreams are not fulfilled by staying in your comfort zone but by stepping out and engaging in new activities, attending events and meeting new people.

For example, you can’t expect to be the best entertainment lawyer if you don’t network with people in the media and entertainment industry with a view to growing your clientele and offering the best services to them. Stepping outside your comfort zone paves a way for your career growth and development.

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Stepping outside your comfort zone paves a way for your career growth and development. Click To Tweet

Be the master of your craft

In whatever industry you work in, you should aim to be the master of your craft. Strive to perfect your knowledge in a certain industry by keeping up on current affairs so that you will be able to engage in thought-provoking discourse with the people you choose to network with. Having a view on a current issue in your industry that’s different from most views usually sparks interest and will have people willing to know more about your philosophy on that issue.

Working in the creative industry will force you to practice your craft regularly so that you may gain more knowledge and an appreciation for your skills that will not be influenced by anyone. If your networking goals include getting a mentor, then honing your creativity by a schedule of practice will be a catalyst to your progress; experienced people would rather mentor people that have a resilience for hard work. Is ‘hard work’ your middle name?

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Introduce yourself first

There will be times that you will be in a room full of people unknown to you. Imagine you’re an introvert that made it this far to an industry conference, your instinct may be to grab a coffee and sit down at the nearest table. Networking in the big city involves taking a plunge, so rather than following your instinct, you should join a table full of people who are not yet deep in conversation and introduce yourself or walk over to someone standing alone and find common ground.

Using an icebreaker to soften the atmosphere may get people smiling and will create a perfect opportunity to say, “Hi, my name is Rachel and I work for 1 Media Ltd. It’s nice to meet you, what’s your name?”.

Unresponsive body language while networking can be a deal breaker Click To Tweet

Communicate with body language

There are many ways you can show courtesy and attentiveness from your body language. Unresponsive body language while networking with other industry professionals can be a deal breaker. This may give off a vibe of having a short concentration span or succumbing to distractions from passers-by, implying that you may have the same attitude towards a particular job.

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Shaking hands, smiling, and maintaining eye contact with someone you have just met shows your confidence and eagerness to partake in a serious discussion. This sort of body language will be reciprocated when delivered properly and not aggressively. Try not to scare your business targets away by being overly expressive or not expressive enough!

Never forget your business card

Networking with your business card is a recipe for success. At corporate or private events, many people may be able to introduce themselves and speak for a couple minutes but not engage in a full conversation. Sell your personality and your business but solidify this with a card that clearly states the name of your business, nature of the business, your role in that business and your current contact information.

Talking about a business or representing a company with nothing to signify your affiliation may not be convincing to other people and may prompt people to perform extra due diligence to ascertain your true identity.

Follow up

After all the hard work involved in attending seminars or making connections at a meeting you followed your boss to, don’t take a step back by not following up on the conversations you’ve had with colleagues and seniors in your industry. Follow up on your networking attempts by sending a short email, setting up a meeting or a friendly phone call (with a purpose) to inquire an opinion.

Networking can either be impulsive or very strategic but whatever the case, ensure that you are using your network to achieve your net worth!

Revolutionise your business cards with these 6 easy-peasy tips

By handing over a business card you are literally handing your business name in their hands Click To Tweet

One of the smartest things to do upon meeting a potential customer, client or partner is to hand over a business card. However, I’ve noticed more than 80% of the business cards I have collected over the years have one thing in common- a blank space at the back.

By handing over a business card to a potential client/customer you are handing your business name in their hands; quite literally. This is your chance to capture their attention by making use of that awkward blank space at the back of your business card, (you know they will turn it over to explore, right?) or for some that repetitive business logo that does nothing.

Think of your business card like having two billboards on the roadside whereby you opted to use only one simply because all your information could fit in there and leave the other one empty. What a waste right?

If you are not using the back of business card, you are definitely wasting one of the most effective budget friendly marketing resources at your disposal.

I have searched the web and found some examples of how creative entrepreneurs are using the back their business cards. Here are some useful and easy ideas to you get you started.

Boost your credibility

Every person, brand or company can quickly tell a story of why they are relevant by adding one of the following to the back of their business cards;

  • Customer testimonials
  • Brand promise or a statement quote
  • Career achievements, or honorary degrees
  • A short list of important media features
  • A translation of your business card will make a great first impression on your foreign clients and customers.
  • Names or logos of your major clients or customers.
  • Charities you support
  • Titles or cover photos of any books you have published.
  • The hours you are open for business
An example of a business card with a strong personal statement

2. Give a special offer

Use your business card to give your potential clients offers they can’t refuse. The important thing is to make offers depending on your business model and clarify in your wording that the offer is exclusively available to those holding your business card when they walk into your shop and not otherwise.

Such offers can be:

  • Free consultation offers for client attraction
  • Offering discounts for your client first purchase or first project together
  • “Buy one get one free” deal to incentivize customers to purchase
  • Offer a free recipe or great tip relating to one of your products.
An example of a business card with a special offer

3. Add a QR CODE to your paper business card

Another great option is to print a QR code on the back of your card to generate leads for your business. A variety of QR code scanners are available as smartphone applications and when a client scans a code, it will bring up anything you choose to link to such as your website, links to social media profiles, email subscriptions page, adding to their phonebook etc.

You can learn how to make your personal QR code online very easily. Important to make sure you have a call to action on your business card. Don’t just print the QR code, write something with it; for example, “Scan this QR code to know more about me”.

You can also use the back of business cards to show a short description of what you do Click To Tweet

4. Showcase your skills and services

You can also use the back of business cards to show a short description of what you do/who you do it for. You could opt for one of the following:

  • If you are a restaurant, you could put a small menu with a best selling dish especially for takeout customers.
  • Titles of courses and the number of people you have trained in your career are great for teachers.
  • Public speakers can include the titles of their talks.
  • A before/after photo can be very persuasive for professional services providers such as fitness coaches, event decorators, and furniture repair or restoration services.
  • If you are an artist, you can add one of your favorite artworks.
  • Price menu including prices of your best services or products.
Example of the back of spa business card showing the prices of treatments and spa location.

5. Choose a meaningful background

There might be times you don’t want to add any text on the back of your business card. Instead of selecting a coloured background, which is no better than a blank white space even if they are pretty to look at, how about adding an icon, a symbol or a photo that describes your brand? This particular style can work great for creative professionals in the visual arts, such as architects, photographers, graphic designers and many others.

An example of a makeup artist business card with an eye catching background
Whatever you decide to add to the back of your card, make it something valuable Click To Tweet

Conclusion

There are limitless possibilities for the back of your business card to add additional information beyond the basic and showcasing your unique personality and brand. Whatever you decide to add to the back of your card, make it something valuable and favorable to your customers or prospects.