Business and Finance

5 ways to master the art of business networking

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The key to successful networking is being able to interact with people. Here’s how to walk the walk and talk to the people that matter.

By Craig Falck for Africa Report

1. The number one rule of networking is to be seen.
It doesn’t matter what the event is, make sure that your name is on the invite list and attend. This is the only way to meet people and make contacts within the industry.

2. Mingle as if you’re single.
If you’re going to sit at the bar in the corner, you might as well not be there. You need to talk to other people at events and tell them your name, your business and what it is that you do. First impressions last, so make sure that you give them something they won’t soon forget.

3. Know what you’re talking about.
When it comes to any particular industry, there are a lot of specialists who know a lot about the products and services on offer. Have your facts on hand about your business and goods and give them something to talk about when you explain what sets you apart from the rest.

4. Listen and you will be listened to.
When you’re mingling, listen to what people have to say. This will give you insight into who they are, what they like and where their interests lie. Then, use this to your advantage and bring up a topic that gives you common ground. This will break any ice and help make friends in the biz.

5. Always have business cards on hand.
Not only could you win cool prizes when you enter at the door (most events have lucky draws), but you’ll also be able to hand them out while you’re busy networking. The people you meet now have a way of contacting you, as well as a reminder – they’ll remember you when they empty their pockets at the office the next morning.

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