Five Business Networking Tips from a Hampton Roads Connector
As a team, we love engaging with the community and participating in local Hampton Roads networking groups. On Team TechArk, we’re fortunate to have people who are passionate about connecting like Account Executive, Haley Van Syckle Morgan. So, we asked Haley to share five business networking tips that you can start using immediately to get out there and start making connections. These tips will work anywhere you are! It doesn’t matter if you’re in Norfolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, Elizabeth City, or the Outer Banks!
According to Haley, “There’s nothing better than watching someone’s confidence grow as they realize how much value they have to offer the Hampton Roads business community.” Success starts with the belief that you have a unique value to offer, regardless of your role or the industry you represent. With that as your starting point, and a few effective networking strategies, you might be surprised by how far business networking will take you!
Five Tips for Making Connections at Business Networking Events
- Plan to Meet the Right People “
The more I know about the event and attendees, the more comfortable I am networking. That’s why I like to spend about 15 minutes researching the event. I try to get a feel for the organization, visualize the format, and think about who might be there. If there are speakers or special honorees, I pull up LinkedIn to learn more about their professional experience and connections. With that in mind, I can usually come up with a few engaging conversation starters, which leads to my next tip."
- Spark a Connection with Conversation Starters “People gravitate toward people who can start a good conversation. And that begins before you even say a word! Approach with a smile and make eye contact. Then, introduce yourself.”
“From there, I usually offer a genuine compliment or a positive comment about the event. Then, I’ll follow it up with an open-ended question that encourages the other person to open up like, “what brings you to this event?” or “what gives you the most joy at your job?” I’m also not shy about sharing something about myself that will help build rapport and make a connection.”
- Pitch Yourself as a Problem Solver “I have a short “elevator pitch” about TechArk’s digital marketing and technology solutions. I focus on sharing the problem we solve in a way that helps others see the value we offer. I also make a point to explain what makes us different.”
“Hundreds of businesses rely on TechArk to secure and develop their presence online. We specialize in WordPress Website development, managed hosting & maintenance, digital marketing services, and custom software solutions. If your business has a WordPress website, I’d love to connect and explore how we can help you grow your business.”
- Name Tags Never Go Out of Style “No matter what I’m wearing, my gold TechArk nametag is the perfect accessory. It’s actually a visual cue that I’m open and approachable. We all feel awkward when we forget the name of someone we’ve met before, but it happens! Especially with all the distractions that come with networking. When I wear my nametag and hand out business cards, I’m taking steps to make networking less stressful for everyone I meet.”
- Tap Into Your Unique Value “I think the most important tip for networking is to be authentically you. Let your personality shine through and don’t be afraid to highlight something that sets you apart. For me, it’s my red hair and the way I bring value by being a connector. I’m a shameless selfie taker and people love to jump in the shot with me. The key is to find what works for you. Maybe you’re the guy with good dad jokes!”
With a few simple strategies, you can start to unlock the benefits of business networking. As easy as it sounds, starting with a smile and a handshake can lead to new relationships, increased leads, and visibility for your business. And if you’re a business owner, it’s also a great place to share knowledge, collaborate with others, and find your next great hire. So don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and start talking!
Connect with #TeamTechArk Online & In the Community
The great thing about being a remote-first team is that we’re not tied to one location. You’ll find our team all over the community: at coffee shops, meet-ups, fundraisers, and networking events. It’s hard to say where we’ll pop up next! But, we’re always available to catch up and chat about building your business online. Reach out to us today.