In most networking meetings, there will be an opportunity for you to speak directly to the room about your business, usually 60 seconds/one minute. For virtual meetings, you may be put into ‘breakout rooms’ and for in-person meetings, there will be time for mingling before and/or after the event.
Networking meetings can feel awkward at first, so the first step is to think about your introduction to the other people in the room to build a relationship with one, some or all of those people.
It’s the second step that’s really important and that is arranging to meet up (face to face or virtually) in order to learn more about that person and their business. Schedule one-to-one’s sparsely (perhaps one or two each week) so you still have sufficient time for your ‘rainmaking activities’!
What is a one-to-one?
Within networking circles, a one-to-one is an opportunity to learn more about each other’s businesses and how you might be able to help each other.
The optimum time for a one-to-one is 45 to 60 minutes which gives you time to learn about each other. Be mindful of not talking about yourself too much and instead be the person to ask questions. There’s nothing worse than a one-to-one where one person talks and then the time runs out; keep a timer if necessary.
Plan your one-to-ones in advance.
Do your research and connect with that person on LinkedIn, follow them on Instagram, take a look at their website. This will give you an insight into that person so you can ask relevant questions.
If you’ve invited that person, be sure to them for agreeing to meet you and ask the first questions. This is where your forward-planning is key so that you have questions prepared.
A one-to-one is the perfect opportunity to find out about their hobbies and interests because a mutual love of horse-riding for example, might lead to your relationship deepening more quickly. If you support opposing football teams, a bit of healthy banter, might build rapport. Some people’s hobbies might surprise you!
It’s important to make an action plan and follow up with any promises you have made. This builds trust in you.
Make a diary note to review any introductions you’ve made – this will show that you care about both parties.
Schedule another one-to-one a couple of months later; there is no rule to how many one-to-one meetings you can have as businesses are always changing and growing, especially amongst networkers who are entrepreneurs. Keep in touch!