Tag Archives: networking

11 Good Networking Habits That Will Grow Your Relationships.

business-networking-Irish Biz-People

IrishBizPeople Event

Recently we received a reminder that a popular series of networking events for Irish SMEs is starting up again in October. Dubnet events are business ‘get-togethers’ for people who, more than likely have engaged online through social media. It is, in essence, an opportunity to build relationships – which is critical in business.

As I was registering (it’s free to attend), I realised that, in general, I look forward to these networking events. Mainly because we all know that leads / new business does not come knocking on the door. Instead, opportunities are usually found attached to people and such events as Dubnet (or groups like #irishbizpeople on Facebook), is a perfect platform to meet such people.

People either love networking or hate it. Whichever one you are is determined, in our opinion, by your attitude to meeting new people. A lot of the time people put stress on themselves, even before they attend an event. Here are some of our thoughts to help with any pre-event stress.

  • Don’t worry too much about first impressions. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in because what you wear shouldn’t make or break a relationship.
  • Appreciate that most of the information that will be presented (by speakers) you’ll have heard before, but that’s not the point – face-to-face engagement is.
  • You should really behave yourself around the free food and beverage opportunities but do be ready to hang around a little afterwards, if required – after the formalities, people usually relax more and be themselves.
  • Don’t try to be a professional networker and learn your ‘lines’ by rote – talk about what interests you, just be genuine and sincere. People, just like yourself relish real conversation, preferably stories.
  • Don’t worry about leaving the company of someone who is selling to you. They probably just want to spread their business cards around anyway. Spend longer with people you enjoy

The wrong question – “So, what do YOU do?”

I’ll probably get in trouble for this statement, but I honestly believe that when people ask you this question they don’t really care about the answer. So the challenge, therefore, is for you to help them care. Don’t try and cram everything into that 20-second elevator pitch – just make your response different or interesting enough to grab their attention.

This means answering with something that is totally unique to you. Your personality should shine through and make them realise that you are a human being – not a prospect! After doing that, you might draw them in further by suggesting a common problem SMEs have, by way of a question, e.g.“You know how little time small business owners have to review their marketing?”

Usually, this leads to the ‘great minds think alike’ moment and you can then mention your elevator pitch, as part of the conversation, describing what you do.

With regard to elevator pitches – I can’t remember where I came across this simple formula so I have to use it here without appropriate credits:

“I help/teach ________ (ideal client) to ________ (feature) so they can _________ (benefit).

The caveat here however, is that if you can’t move through the stages as alluded to above, naturally – don’t attempt it. It will come across as being contrived and at worse a sales pitch. Stick with rule #1 – be authentic.

Tips and Timesavers.

We wrote on this topic on numerous occasions previously and one that seemed to resonate with people was this one – 11 Bad Networking Habits. For our tips in this post, we are taking a more positive viewpoint and would offer these suggestions:


Before you attend, change your attitude to focus on meeting friends rather than business contacts.

uncomfortable person

Remember many other people are just as uncomfortable as you are – which quite often is just shyness.

smiling and networking

Did you know that people make a snap judgement on whether you’re trustworthy after 35 milliseconds of looking at your face – smiling indicates trustworthiness.

be prepared for networking

Before you head off to the event try and do some research in advance. Find out what type of event it is, its theme, a list of attendees and the speaker’s names.

business person networking

Prepare a 10 second introduction about yourself. This is not an elevator pitch it is a warm introduction to a potential conversation.

smiling person networking

Be more interesting. As mentioned above – give the person you’re talking to, something more to work on. Don’t just give your name and your job. Try telling them the benefit of what you do.

what about you networking

And how about you? Is much better than: So, what do you do? Don’t you think?

Thumbs up at networking

Give compliments that might encourage conversation. Make sure you accompany your observation with a question to continue the conversation.

networking and meeting people

Make people at ease and don’t wait to be approached. Why not talk to the person who isn’t talking to anybody?

groups of people networking

Don’t be afraid to join a bunch of people who are having fun. If you are part of a group having fun, be conscious of others trying to join in. Open up!


Be nice to everyone by paying attention to them and if you must move on – do it with compassion.


Hopefully, our tips above will help you build some good networking habits. Making a few little adjustments to your attitude to networking should make meeting new people, building relationships and converting leads, a second nature to you. The main point to remember is that relationships are how you grow your business. Don’t be scared to reach out and establish real connections.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

11 bad networking habits.

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Do you value networking for lead generation?

I came across a video from entrepreneur.com recently, on making small talk, which brought a smile to my face. Humour really is the way to get a message across a lot of the time, don’t you think? Anyway, it made me reflect on the number of events my colleague in OC&K, and I attend each month. Every time we are at an event it is very amusing to spot the various networking techniques being employed and the number of people that are just not comfortable networking, in any situation.

So in this post I’m going to chat about how being more prepared can help get rid of ‘cold feet’ and then outline some examples of bad networking.

I am conscious of the fact that for many people reading here, this is an old and well documented topic but, for me it never seems to be a waste of time reviewing how to communicate clearly and effectively and how to go about building relationships from a standing start. Of course the words you speak and hear at a networking event do play a part in getting your message across but it is the way that you speak and listen that makes a significant difference.

OK so – hands up – how many people think success at an event is a case of counting the number of people (business cards) that you encounter (distribute)? One might even measure it as a personal brand awareness driver by spending an evening chatting with acquaintances over a ‘free’ glass of vino! Either way, here are some thoughts that might make your networking efforts, actually worthwhile.

Food for thought.

Above all else – have a short and simple description about what you do. At OC&K, ‘we help, mainly, small businesses to be smarter about their marketing activity’. If you can’t ream it off naturally, how is your ‘listener’ going to understand what you do without further clarification, who will then probably switch off, as you continue to elaborate. Prepare before you attend i.e. find out who is going to be there that you would like to chat to and while preparing your ‘strategy’ – decide on some objectives (2/3 is fine). This way you can judge whether your evening was a success or not.

A trick I always like to use is to go and say hello to the speaker. It’s amazing how many people you meet that gather around the speaker after a presentation. If there is no speaker, use the organiser instead. Even if they are not relevant to your business – they are usually well connected, and you’d never know who you’d ‘bump into’.

The best thing to do at any networking event is to really listen. However, if you are talking, try to use similar terminology and follow the body language of your counterpart. Someone pointed out to me that the word listen is an anagram of silent. – which is a good way to remember this point.

This is an old one but, where possible get them to talk about their work, career, interests or even their opinions.  We know that people tend to have positive recall of a conversation if they have spoken about themselves. Give the other person your undivided attention and if that’s working both ways, then a relationship commences. I believe that the hardest thing to do is to get out of your own comfort zone. It is all too easy to talk with somebody all night that has the same interests as you have. Mingle and listen to different stories.

I attended a fantastic networking event last Thursday evening, the #dubnet, 1 year old celebration organised by the @dubnetbiz gang, at a great Dublin city centre venue, The Church.  During the evening I was reminded that trying to stay focused on someone who is talking about their business in an incoherent way, is very difficult. It is all too easy to make an excuse to leave and move onto somebody else, but of course I wouldn’t do that. I believe that not only would it be bad manners to do so but it could also mean that perhaps the person had not prepared properly and should be given a chance, within reason. In fact, on the one occasion that it happened last Thursday, I summarised what I believed the person was saying and they noticed that they were babbling on. Lesson learnt, I hope.

Personally, when networking, the two things I focus on the most is being helpful, where and when I can, during a conversation, and making sure I make a note to follow-up where I have said that I would.

Tips and Timesavers.

There are no hard and fast rules about what not to do so here are eleven examples of what I consider bad networking:

  • You move on after an introduction because you believe that the person isn’t useful to you.
  • You don’t allow the person you are speaking with to speak in a 60 second period.
  • You remain in the company of a colleague / friend that you attended with.
  • You give a business card to people you haven’t spoken with.
  • You forget to keep a note of who you promised to follow up.
  • You are there for the food and/or the booze.
  • You stay talking to a person you know already.
  • You spend your time on your smartphone.
  • You gossip about others at the event.
  • You ask closed (yes or no) questions.
  • You sell.

In the advent of uber connectivity online, I believe that it is more important nowadays that we don’t lose the skill of good face-to-face networking. Of course online networking is an integral part of building and growing a business, but offline follow up is essential, if a relationship is to be developed. It is a skill to feel confident in a networking situation, but with experience and some careful planning you should be able to capitalize on the value of networking for lead generation.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K



Mingling and Jingling with your networks

christmas clove

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Building rapport and trust through your social networks.

Someone once said, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” I’m sure you’ll agree that you must know what you’re talking about but having just started up oconnorandkelly.ie earlier this year, the second half of this saying rings true. By strengthening existing relationships and through them, building some new ones, we have been able to find customers for our fledgling business.

Of course it’s not all straightforward and getting that first face to face meeting can be difficult, but it is essential to build trust and rapport. New connective technology does make it easier to maintain or develop new relationships, but even better, it allows you some extra time to network offline further.

I thought about offline networking recently, as I waited to meet a business partner in a pub (soup and sandwiches). I was people spotting and reckoned that in the lead up to Christmas more people were out for lunch meetings. The place was packed with suits and it was quite the eye opener to watch the various situations unfold. You would imagine that we all know how to behave at a business lunch but here are just six things I noticed around me. They might even form a checklist of sorts:

  • One guy kept ringing an office to see where his host was (avoid re-scheduling).
  • A guest kept checking his watch for his hosts arrival (be there before your guest).
  • It was obvious that the proprietors knew the host (use a venue you know best).
  • A host ordered a three course meal, his guest ordered a salad only (don’t order first).
  • A guest kept checking his phone messages (put the phone on silent – in your pocket).
  • Never argue over the bill – you invite, you pay.


 I was distracted suddenly by about ten Santa’s who arrived in to the pub for lunch. They were a bunch of people out on the town raising money for charity, but very obviously enjoying each other’s company. In fact, I believe that they also raised the spirits of everybody else in the establishment, with their bells and flashing fairy lights. That is when the title for this blog came to mind. Everybody seemed to be mingling and jingling.

They were a network of friends or colleagues mingling for a cause. Just like my own networks, I thought. Yes, I said networks, plural, because I guess everybody has many networks such as friends, family, work, sports and business etc. As I thought about this I reckoned, now that OC&K is in a start-up phase, Aidan and myself were using all our own networks to get referrals. And actually, through our networks we had access to many experts in many fields.

Tips and Timesavers.

Obviously you should not be afraid to segment your networks definitively and from a business networking point of view, I have five rules that I adhere to in an effort to build rapport and trust.

  • I offer help in any way I can without asking for something back.
  • I always try to find out the person’s area of expertise before I meet them.
  • I don’t have hidden motives – if I’m looking for business, they know it up front.
  • I don’t get too personal and allow them lead the conversation.
  • If they are a specialist in a particular area, I don’t look for free advice.

Networking is a powerful way to grow your business and to promote yourself as a thought leader. Of course you must earn the reputation in the first place, but when you do, your networks will be an integral part of spreading that message both offline and online. It is a huge asset to have relevant networks available that are willing to help your business succeed. Happy Networking.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

Networking to attract the action.

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Would you be happy with an 80% success rate?

Of course, not everybody loves walking into a business networking event as a stranger or standing at a trade show stand or even attending a breakfast meeting as a member of an association, but guess what? It is essential to building and growing your business. And yes it does take skill and experience to feel confident in these situations, but it’s amazing how a little careful planning will help you to gain those all-important business leads (or whatever your objectives are).

Attract + Action.

I read a blog lately where Woody Allen was quoted as saying that ‘80% of success is showing up’. Now while I actually do agree with this sentiment, I believe the remaining 20% is as, if not more, important as the 80%. From experience I know that your task will be made a lot easier if you prepare a little before, during and after the event. Interestingly, recently I read a blog that broke the word ‘attraction’ into two parts – Attract and Action – (I apologise to the author for not being able to credit them, as I just cannot locate the blog). They pointed out that we must first attract what we are looking for and then just as importantly, take the appropriate action in order to get what we set out to achieve. The point is – who wants just 80% success. No one else can do this for us, we must take action ourselves to attract what it is that we want. So referring to Woody Allen’s quote – showing up is indeed action but it’s not enough on its own. We must take the action by attending, of course, and then make ourselves attractive to our prospects.

Tips and Timesavers.

Here are 10 pointers that might help with the attraction element:

Before the Event

1. Choose the event wisely and set objectives.

2. Scope out individual attendees (and their company’s website) and prepare your elevator pitch.

3. Dress for success.

During the Event

4. Get the lay of the land and look for the influencers.

5. Study name badges in general and be friendly.

6. Be curious and be open yourself to questions.

7. Don’t sell too hard so listen more than you speak.

8. Keep cards handy and keep mingling.

After the Event

9. Make notes and follow through promises (e.g. social media).

10. Be professional with follow ups (they’re not your friend – yet).

Let’s face it, real-life networking events aren’t likely to go away anytime soon – people enjoy connecting with each other, in person. Remember everybody at that event has something to offer somebody and that includes you. Be attractive and go that extra 20%.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K