Networking Machines

It is the season for parties and functions, so start saying “yes”, and take the time to connect with your clients in a relaxed manner that is not all about work. And instead of “networking”, says Kirsty Spraggon, relationship building expert and author, think of it as “focused socialising”.

It is the season for parties and functions, so start saying “yes”, and take the time to connect with your clients in a relaxed manner that is not all about work. And instead of “networking”, says Kirsty Spraggon, relationship building expert and author, think of it as “focused socialising”.

When I am invited to business functions, or networking events, my aim is to connect with people that I like – but at the same time I am there to do business and to create opportunities and win / win situations.

I recently flew to Los Angeles to attend an author’s conference with a colleague. Now, attending a conference with a colleague was a first for me, as I usually tend to fly solo as I network. Mostly because I have such a clear idea of what I hope to achieve at an event. It was therefore a great experience to find my travel companion had a like-minded focus ‘to have fun and connect with people’.

My colleague and I easily had the most success of any attendees at the event. There were 300 people in the room, and yet by day two we were known by over 80% of the room by name. We had arranged private meetings with eight out of the 10 speakers. We had a private meeting with the top literary agent in California who has published over 10,000 author’s including Deepak Chopra & Eckhart Tolle. We were networking machines.

Here are some of the things I noticed were our keys to success and some of the faux pas of other attendees ‘the what not to do’s’ that I am sure will help you get the most from your next Christmas party, networking event or conference.

Biggest Faux Pas

  1. On day one, we were rather concerned about the calibre of people in the room. As one speaker later said to us, ‘the majority of the audience appeared to be dressed like homeless people’. It is important that you dress to impress and make the best possible first impression. Remember you are not on a day off; you are there to create business opportunities. Before you head off to the event, ‘really’ look at yourself from an objective point of you. Do you present well, are you in your best outfit, is your hair groomed?
  2. You are ”on” 24/7 when at an event so not a good idea to get trashed at the bar. You have only two days to make the most of your time and cannot afford to embarrass yourself. Late afternoon on day two I had a guy fall asleep in the chair next to me who started snoring loudly…what sort of impression does that make? And who would do business with him after that?
  3. Statistics show that over 70% of people do not follow up when they meet people at networking events. You need to organise a time to catch up with people you have identified and start to build a relationship.

Key “To Do’s”

  1. Be confident and be yourself. If you have dressed to impress, and you are wearing one of your favorite ensembles, this becomes so much easier. As you automatically feel more confident, stand taller and command attention. I have a special fire engine red top I wear with a suit whenever I want to stand out and feel bullet proof. Most importantly, have fun, and be yourself and trust the right people will see who you are, and what you are about.
  2. Be Bold. You have to be confident & courageous enough to ask for what you want. Try to get one on one meetings with the people you want to work with and create a win / win opportunity. Ask if you can take them for a drink or bite to eat. This way you get to know them more personally.
  3. Follow Up. Do what you say you will do. On average, I would spend four to seven hours after a big event following up. Statistics show there is between a nine and 18-month incubation period between when someone first encounters us (or our brand), and when they will contact us (or have a need for your product or service). Be mindful of this and be patient, consistent, and tenacious when it comes to staying in touch with potential clients. In the nine to 18 months, you must be staying in touch and I do not mean stalking or harassing people. You need to have permission by opening a relationship and genuinely connecting. You might do this by catching up for a coffee, making a phone call that is not about selling or connecting online through social networks. The important thing is to build a relationship so when they are ready you are still around.

    After an event on average there would be 10 people I identified as key players that I would organise to catch up with and 30 people I would want to stay in regular contact with. Everyone would go into my database and some onto newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and into my calendar to follow up in the future.

  4. The festive season. There is so much to do at this time of the year, and everyone is keen to “catch up” that it is hard to keep track of everything. I have OCD when it comes to list writing. For me it means 300 items are not in my head and I can clearly see the priorities. I actually type mine in Word so I can cut, paste, and move items to the top of the page each day. Should you write Christmas cards? If you are going to write Christmas cards, then write Christmas cards. Do not just sign them with your name; take the time to write a personal message.

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Kirsty Spraggon

Kirsty Spraggon is a relationship building expert that assists you to increase, your sales, networks and connections for life & business success. Her show @kirstytv has just hit 100,000 views on youtube. For more information visit