So many business networking groups so little time! Business Networking for Plain Talking HR has been the building blocks to our success. So, we thought we would share out top 10 tips to help your business get the most from business networking based on our experiences. 
 
1. Network to build your brand and awareness of what you do. 
 
We have found that over the years going to local events on a regular basis in our area has proved to be very successful for us. We have become known in the Luton area for offering simple HR advice at cost effective rates. 
 
2. Being clear when you introduce yourself 
We pride ourselves on clarity with our clients. When we introduce ourselves at networking events, we ensure people know we give clear advice on HR-hence our name Plain Talking HR. If we know we have to do a one-minute introduction we prepare and plan for it so we can communicate with clarity how we can help other businesses with their HR. 
 
3. Be helpful 
We are always happy to help and pass on useful connections to others. We do this in the spirit of being part of the business community. Connecting companies together is very satisfying and knowing you might be part of creating a special partnership or business being created is a fantastic feeling. The more you help others the more they will think of you and the stronger your business relationships become. 
 
4. Follow up 
Its important after business networking meetings that you arrange a follow up meeting with people you have met that you feel you have synergy with to further develop relationships. We do this on a regular basis and over the years to has paid dividends. Connect with people on LinkedIn or Facebook too. Creating a spreadsheet of connections can also be useful and saves trying to remember who does what and where you met them! 
 
5. Choose your networking wisely 
Time is something we are all starved of. So, decide the best time of day for you, the events that you think will be most useful and factor in the cost. At Plain Talking HR we do a mixture of membership networking, local free events and business exhibitions and we have found this balance works for us. We also belong to a group in London which further extends our business reach. 
 
6. Don’t expect too much too soon! 
Building relationships and reputation takes time and effort. One meeting will not get you a business lead unless you are very lucky! We have found over the years it has taken some time to nurture relationships before we have gained business referrals. People need to get to know you and understand what you do, and this takes time. 
 
7. Be consistent 
Being a regular at an event means people will remember you when someone they know asks if they know someone who does what you do. Many times, we have had referrals for people who said they thought of us straight away for HR support because they saw us on a regular basis. 
 
8. Clear literature 
Take clear literature with you to events. A nice business card, leaflet or brochure can be very useful and can help to encourage follow ups. 
 
9. Be on time 
Turning up late is never a good idea. We always try to be early and be part of welcoming new people and this gives us a chance to chat to people and make them feel relaxed. Rushing in half way through event never looks good and you miss such valuable time connecting with people. Always make enough time to be slightly early and stay on for 15 minutes at the end. 
 
10. Find suppliers 
Networking events are a great way to find trusted suppliers to work with you on your business. We have found people over the years who have assisted us with our accounts, marketing, office admin, print and promotional gifts and legal services. This has been invaluable. 
 
Finally make sure you enjoy the meetings you attend. If you don’t you will soon dread going. Many business owners find business networking a great way to take a break from the office. It can be very refreshing to be part of some great conversations and discussions at events. Find events with people who share your vision and enthusiasm for your business. Plus there is an even great bonus for me - networking has also created some long lasting friendships. 
 
 
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