Networking - get the basics right

June 2013 | Servcorp

Those that keep an eye on our offerings at Servcorp might be aware of the series of business networking events we'll be hosting in the near future.

While the events themselves will hopefully afford many Malaysian businesses the chance to network in all new ways, it's also important for businessmen and women to be able to use their own initiative when it comes to spreading the reach of their companies.

While networking won't count for much if your business can't provide a quality product or service, it's a necessity if you're looking to gain new clients or customers. Even if you're just looking to spread the word of your offerings it's an important tool.

So, how best to do it?

Well, wherever you're based, having face to face contact with influential figures in your industry won't do any harm. Is there a regular industry coffee morning that you could attend?

Alternatively, is there a business network within your city? Have a look online, and see if you can join – doing so might make you some invaluable friends.

Looking online can often be the key. The development of social media has led to all sorts of new networking opportunities for those that are savvy enough to make the most of them.

For instance, making full use of LinkedIn and its “groups” facility can connect you directly to significant figures within a range of industries. Put forward interesting ideas that grab their attention, and you'll be on their radar immediately.

Twitter can also be a very useful tool for businesses, from the perspective of both networking and growing brand awareness. However, remember to network on the site in the same way you might real life. Don't overdo it or annoy potential new friends by bombarding them with Tweets!

Finally, remember that appearances are critical in the world of business. Whether you're meeting someone online or in real life, make sure that you look the part.

You might assume that doing so over a computer is a lot easier, and while this is true to an extent, it's not a complete walk in the park. Make sure that your social profiles look smart, and that you project yourself as someone that knows what they're talking about (without trying too hard) at all times.

And of course, if you are meeting someone in person, then make sure you look the part. First appearances do count, and whether they realise it or not, if you don't present yourself like you have knowledge then your potential new friends will be quick to write you off.