Top tips for building a network

Please can I talk to you?

It can be very daunting to start to build up a business network, but it is one of the most valuable things that you can do when starting out in a new venture and throughout your career, so it is well worth the time and effort.

These are some of my top tips:

  • respect the other person’s time – this is the #1 rule
    • be clear about what you are asking for and be prepared to accept a ‘no’
  • be yourself, people appreciate authenticity
  • think about what you can offer in return
    • you might be able to make a useful introduction
    • you may be able to collaborate or send work their way
    • a genuine ‘thank you’ may suffice, as people often just like to help
  • at in person events, making a personal connection is key
    • develop a short ‘elevator pitch’ to introduce yourself
    • get to know the person and their interests
    • don’t dive in with your request, follow up after the event
  • if approaching people ‘cold’ via email, LinkedIn etc, explain how you heard about them, and be clear about why you think they can help you
  • influential people get a lot of requests so keep your message brief and be realistic
    • e.g. ask for advice or feedback, or to pass on your request to someone in their team but don’t ask for introductions when they don’t know you
    • often the most influential person in a business is the PA, so treat them with respect (treat everyone with respect)
  • finally, remember the #1 rule.

Published by Fiona

Fiona was once a hands-on scientist and still has a curious mind. She combines strategic thinking with an entrepreneurial attitude and the ability to make great connections. She also takes photos.

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