Networking, as in official networking, has really grabbed Ireland by the throat over the last few years. It has been really good for people like me, freelancers and for smaller operators in all industry sectors. Sometimes, it feels a little uncomfortable as you endlessly witter your quick-pitch and watch someone’s eyes close over (but yet somehow remain open) as they think of all the other places they’d like to be. Most of the time, it is the single best way to meet new clients.
On the networking circuit, I’ve met some brilliant people. Some long term clients. And also some real tyre-kickers and others that are so dodgy, they make Del Boy look like Kofi Annan.
Here’s my networking tips for people who meet me at these events…that’s just me, these are not tips on how to network in general.
- If your close relative/lover/best friend is already a copywriter and providing you with excellent work, just say so and we can talk about holidays, family, TV, the weekend or …nothing at all. When someone has no interest in your services, it is usually pretty clear anyway.
- Please don’t hand over your card, hit me with a benefit and walk away. You have said this over a hundred times but this is the first time I’ve heard it and even two minutes of conversation mean I’ll remember you and perhaps even recommend you..
- No hard sell. It’s usually too early or too late and a little self-deprecation usually wins me over immediately.
- If you’re not in the mood, either don’t go or put on the greatest acting performance since Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot. All I’m saying is try and enjoy it, smile and even laugh a little (not too much though because then you’ll just come across as a bit weird).
- Talk to me like I’m a person. Because I am one. No jargon or management speak if you can help it.
- After a networking event, do not make up a copywriting project to meet me again when all you are trying to do is sell me your own services, which I have already declined. Yes, this happened to me and probably loads more people. It’s a pain and a waste of both our times. You know who you are.
Networking is a great way to get new work and I must pay tribute to lots of folk up and down the country who organise these events, book rooms, confirm numbers and much more. Your efforts make it easy for the rest of us. Thanks.