Networking your way to better business

We are so lucky at The BWN to attract such a diverse range of businesses and organisations and one of our favourite for businesses from sole traders to national corporations that will look after you regardless of the size of your turnover is Essex Chambers. 

We invited them to write a blog so tell us what you think and check out their website for more information. Some great top tips guys and for plenty more why not sign up to our hints and tips. Up there on your right.

The BWN will always source the best resources for your success, so Check out the Essex Chambers.

I have been organising networking events for quite a while and people often ask me and my team for tips on how to get it right. Are you assuming I am referring to how to organise events correctly?  Well, I don’t mean that; what I mean is they often ask us how to network correctly.

Unlike driving there isn’t a clear set of rules to follow, there isn’t a highway code for networking, but there are some general do’s and don’ts that we think people should be more aware of.
Some are obvious and some will sound quite odd, but stick with it, you might just find they work!

1)    Smile – simple but effective. A smile says you are ready and willing to talk to someone. Also, a smile will help bolster your confidence if you are unsure or nervous as you walk into the lion’s den, I mean networking event.

2)    Adopt Open body language – Try not to stand or sit with your arms crossed over your body, or your coat, bag, folder pressed against your rib cage. This sends signals to all the other delegates that you are (a) nervous, and (b) not really ready or willing to talk to people.
(Unless you are a mime artist, then of course, not talking will aid your business greatly!)

3)    Use your delegate list wisely – Don’t simply walk up to the delegates and scan their body for their name badge. This can be offensive to the delegate and can result in you looking like a human metal detector.  If there is a delegate list at the event, peruse this first and then slowly scan the room looking for your desired delegates.


4)    Smile – Have I mentioned this one already? Must be important….


5)    Offer your hand for a shake and not your cheek for a kiss – You can assume that in the UK, people will react appropriately to a proffered hand, you can not assume that everyone is happy to be kissed, once, or twice, or even three times on a first meeting! (Note to self, not everyone is from Italy!) A firm handshake is comforting and well mannered and is the polite way to greet someone you are meeting for the first time.


6)    Research your surroundings – This applies to networking events / trade shows in other countries. Just as you would research the weather, also find out what customs that country adopts and how you are supposed to greet people etc. For example, it is polite in China to accept business cards with two hands. This is very important to them and should be adopted by you. 


7)    Dress to impress – and not to dance, fix your car, hang your washing out or go shopping.  This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but this should mean you dress appropriately.  The main point is for you to feel comfortable, but this should not be at the expense of other delegates’ comfort.
If you need to ask someone if your dress is too short, or if your tie is too loud, then the answer is most probably YES!


8)    Smile – there it is again….keep doing it!

9)    Wear your name badge on the right side – and not on your sleeve! And by right, I mean right! When you move to shake someone’s hand, your badge should be the thing they see when they move their eyes down slightly (and remember, in the UK we read from left to right, so it will be the first place they look!). If you shake with your right, then you wear it on the right side. (Now, as you would imagine, half the world disagrees with this, but practice thrusting your shaking hand forward for a second and see which side of your body moves with it!)

10) What are you? – When you are asked what you do, “accountant” is not the right answer, even if you are one. You don’t do “accountant”, you do accounts for people, their tax returns, and their end of year audits. By answering this question wisely, it should make you sound a little bit more interesting, and might also remind your listener that they need something doing!

Good luck and I hope to see you at one of our events, or perhaps a BWN event?

The BWN events are the perfect place to try these tips as half the battle of feeling comfortable is won when someone like Mandie is looking after you!

For a full list of Essex Chambers events please go to our website We promise to smile at you and always proffer a firm handshake! 

  • August 23, 2011