Networking on the Gold Coast:
Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts
"It is not about WHAT you know, it is about WHO you know."
After the rebranding of Empower Change we started networking about 12 months ago. We are happy to share our most valuable lessons with you and the places to network on the Coast.
Below is an overview of the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts including an exercise from the eBook ‘How to master networking’ and an overview of where to network on the Coast.
1. Come prepared
- Bring enough Business Cards
- Practice a memorable Elevator pitch (Click here for the Youtube example shared at the QLD Government’s Capability Statement workshop on ‘How to create a great Elevator pitch’.)
- Wear suitable professional attire
- Think of relevant questions
2. Find a mutual interest
Everyone has something they like in common. Could be sports, the latest news, previous or future travel plans. 99% of the conversations at networking events are not about work. The like and trust factors are based and built on interesting conversations, mutual interest and the willingness to give/help and collaborate.
3. Give first
Networking is a long-term very powerful marketing tool as referrals (Word-of-Mouth) are priceless and almost always convert into sales. However, you have to be willing to ‘give’ first. Think about how you can help other people before you ask for something in return. Find out how you can help them and consider how you can help them with your skills and experience. Could be to invite people to other network events that you are aware of, or send articles that may be helpful for them. Most valuable: send referrals in case you know people who may need their products/services. This is the ultimate Win-Win as you help both parties involved. “Pay it forward and it shall come back to you.”
4. Follow up
Do not forget to follow up within a week! It could be a simple email to send your details. Make sure to put a personal note in there. Put your new contacts in your database or CRM system. Be creative in following up. For example: propose a ‘Skoffee’ (10min Skype coffee catch up). Connect on LinkedIn, follow them on Social Media and interact online. Like/share and comment on postings and blogs.
Do you already follow us on?
- LinkedIn is considered the most effective online tool for networking. Not sure how to use it? Feel free to contact us.
Great interactive workshop with various (group) activities!
Also with Empower Change we are big on ‘Activity based learning’ in our trainings – people tend to recall most once they have been given the opportunity to practice. Our Networking Queen Robyn has been so kind to share her eBook ‘How to master networking’ with us.
Click here for heaps of creative tips.
- TIP: Fill out the ‘Yearly Action Plan’ on page 124-126 to prepare for 2016
5. Choose quality over quantity
Do not "‘go in as a Shark and work the room" as no one likes that approach. The great thing about networking is engaging in interesting conversations and learning from each other. Every person you have a chat with should be able to teach you something you did not know. On average you can aim at having 4-5 meaningful conversations per network event. By all means, say ‘Hi’ to the people you already know, however, aim at having a chat with the new faces in the room. Make sure you also introduce them to your other connections who may be of interest to them.
1. Overdo self-promotion
Networking is about building relationships, so it's not just about you and what you do. Ask for input from the people you talk to, make sure you aren't the only one doing all the talking and make sure you talk about relevant topics.
2. Get cornered
If the discussion isn’t working for you, excuse yourself and move on. Avoid spending too much time with people with whom you can't build a mutual collaborative relationship. If you excuse yourself appropriately and respectfully, it isn't rude, it is expected at network events.
3. Talk trash or get too personal
Keep in mind that you are in a professional environment. The network community is small and nearly everyone knows someone via someone else. It takes years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it.
4. Show inappropriate behaviour
- Don’t get drunk
- Don’t rudely interrupt
- Don’t invade people’s personal space
- Don’t make inappropriate comments and mind your language
The truth always comes out. Don’t lie about your background, experience or capabilities. The Coast is a small community of closely connected people. It takes a while to ‘get in’ and all relationships are built on trust and the pay-it-forward ideals.
The Coast is a special community of hardworking people, keen to build this beautiful city, which is happening quickly with the CommonWealth Games around the corner. There are heaps of opportunities and enough ‘Cake’ to share in collaboration with our network.
Networking takes time and dedication as relationships and trust take time to build. Make sure you attend regularly and stay in touch with your network. We are noticing a significant increase in the numbers of our meetings planned for the New Year.
According to Robyn’s book:
“One in four of the strangers you meet at networking events will become prospects, clients or referees.”
So it is definitely worth it!
Aim: Pay-it-forward, make it personal, make it mutually beneficial and entertaining! No one likes to be bored, especially not before/after office hours.
Where to go to Network on the Coast?
Big advocates of ‘Keep it local’ and ‘Pay it forward’ and so far our most successful Network membership. Their dedicated team (Trevor, David, Christine and Robyn) organise monthly networking drinks (members free, non-members $10-$20) and regular Breakfast sessions with interesting speakers. Ask Robyn for more information and sign up for the email list so you will be informed about upcoming events.
Contact person: Robyn Larance (Robyn.Larance@businessleaders.com.au)
Network institute for CEO’s and Company Directors. Valuable network to connect with decision-makers. However, the group is large and it will take you a while to get to know people. Paid membership and all events cost an extra fee.
QLD Contact: email@example.com
Interesting events and workshops for both alumni and non-alumni. Evening events are between $25-$35 and breakfast sessions between $45-$55.
Sign up for the email list and have a look at upcoming events. We already attended a few well-organised events with interesting speakers – definitely recommended!
Contact person: Laura Rattray-Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By invitation only. An interesting network of influencers connected to Griffith University.
Contact person: Laura Rattray-Wood (email@example.com)
Frank Yarsley, Director of Empower Change, recently took over the role as Chair for the IT Forum Gold Coast as he has already been involved for many years. Regular events and workshops are organised for anyone in the IT environment and/or seeking technology improvement in their organisation. Sign up to the eNewsletter and receive future invites to upcoming events – we shall be there!
Slogan: Local Networks – Global business. We tried this session too and noticed that it might be more interesting for small business owners. The breakfast sessions are weekly. The group practices their pitches and exchanges referrals.
Contact person: Jane Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We shall try these events in 2016.
Click here for the overview of the Gold Coast Chambers of Commerce.
As per the article ‘How to network like a Pro’ the Young Professionals network is worth a try – on our To Visit list for 2016!
Network opportunities via the MeetUp app
Download the ‘MeetUp app’ on your smart phone and start attending events of interest to you in the Gold Coast/Brisbane region.
Free events, organised monthly – often at the Arts Centre. Usually attracts between 50-100 attendees from all different industries. Worth a try!
Contact person: Rob Thompson (email@example.com)
Inbound Marketing Brisbane
Contact person: David McMahon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Search for these groups in the app:
- Gold Coast Business Networking
- Gold Coast Social Business Network
- Gold Coast Networking Group
"Every best friend was once a perfect stranger."
- Robyn Henderson
- eBook: How to master networking by Robyn Henderson
- Article: How to network like a Pro via MoreGoldCoast
- MoreGoldCoast overview of Network organisations on the Coast
- Interesting events and webinars by CCIQ: Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland
- Tip: Click here to sign up for the inspiring MoreGoldCoast eNewsletter and 'stay in the know' with the latest and greatest on the Coast.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the 2016 Network events.
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Let's make 2016 our year of successful Networking and Relationship building!