Women in Business Networking – our Top 5 Tips for Success Online or Offline
I remember in my early 20’s I stepped into a room of a professional networking organisation filled with people, mainly men at least twice or three times my age. I came to this event knowing exactly what I wanted. I wanted to meet potential business investors who could help me take my business further.
At the time there were hardly any women in business networking events, so I used to regularly network within well developed networks (aka old boys clubs).
At this event, I didn’t know a soul, I simply found it online, paid for it and came along. Upon entering the room, you couldn’t help but feel small and imposter, but I didn’t let it hold me back, I knew I was on a mission and there was nothing going to stop me. So I decided to be observant and strategic.
The reason I am writing about this single event more than 10 years later, is that this one event changed the trajectory of my professional life. So what did I do at this event that changed my life?
1. Get to know the host of the event
The first thing that happened at this event was the host approached me and asked me questions about what I do and what I am looking for. In my gentle but affirmative voice I told the host exactly what I did and what I was looking for. This helped the host understand my needs and start connecting me with the right people in the room.
2. Know the reason why you are networking
The second thing that led me to success at this particular event was me knowing exactly why I was at this event and who I needed to connect with.
As a woman in business networking online or in-person it helps being assertive of what you are looking for and having a clear goal. Because many events can be overcrowded and have a diversity of people, if you are not very clear on your goals or who your ideal connections are, you will probably end up wasting a lot of time and walking away from the event with no results or valuable connections that could lead to new opportunities.
I walked into this event sure about my end goal and I knew exactly what I was looking for.
3. Have a clear pitch or conscience introduction
In my early 20’s when I started my first business, an innovative water purification / vending machines for schools and universities with a goal to reduce plastic waste, I used to attend 3-5 events every week. So by the time I attended what could have been a very intimidating event, I already knew my pitch, I already had professional brochures with me and I knew exactly how to get my message across in a way that was compelling enough for people to ask more questions.
4. Scout the room, listen and ask great questions
By nature I am not someone who who uses too many words, but I am a great listener which comes incredibly handy when it comes to networking. Whenever you are networking take the time to observe the room, listen to the conversations already happening, read people body language and when you do find the opportunity to jump in and network, ask great questions and open new conversations. By asking questions you allow others to shine and everyone loves talking about themselves. This gives you the opportunity to learn about them and come back with a perfectly positioned response or introduction.
5. Always be opportunity ready
At this life changing event, something happened. At the last minute the event host said to me – Raimonda, I have someone I would like to introduce you to, he has more than 30 years experience in the industry you are looking for support in. He is an investor and someone who would be great for your business.
Right that second my heart dropped, I smiled and I said I am READY. Moments later, I was speaking to my most valuable connection yet. But, he turned around and said – I am so sorry, I only have 2 minutes and I have to leave to catch my train. I said no problem, I showed my brochure in his hands, delivered my quick pitch and off he went.
I didn’t expect much after this encounter, but to my surprise, few days later I receive an email from his assistant. Dear Raimonda, John would very much like to meet you.
This was the moment my professional career changed. Making this one connection at this event, landed me so much more than I was expecting. It did not land me an investment, but it gave me a mentor who taught me all about investments and business. He taught me everything there is to know about growing and scaling a business. He taught me everything about finding and speaking to investors. He taught me how to position my business fit for investment and so much more.
As a result of this one meeting, I got to work with some of the most amazing tech companies in London, I got to sit at round tables with investors and Venture Capital firms with millions and billions of investments under their belts.
My first business may have never landed the investment I would have liked it to have, but this one event, one meeting has given me experience and post first-failure career that I needed.
This one event has led me on a path of creating this very community and women in business networking events.
So, today I want you to open yourself to opportunities and make more meaningful connections, stay consistent and be willing to networking.
Entrepreneur, Mentor & Founder at Women in Business Club
Raimonda is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, International Speaker and Business Funding Expert. She is the founder of the Women In Business international community and events.
Raimonda launched her 1st business at the age of 21 and has since pursued her entrepreneurial passion, by starting and launching more businesses as well as supporting others to do the same.
Over the last 10 years in business, Raimonda has learned the power of mentorship and encouragement, therefore is now passionate about helping other entrepreneurs achieve success and make a positive impact on this world.