Biz Extra

Published: July 31, 2022 | Updated: August 1, 2022

Darren Northeast, MD, DNPR, on networking face to face and the vital role it plays in PR…

By Andrew Diprose, editor

With the world returning to a much more normal stage of socialising, now is the time to encourage getting your name out there, attending events and making connections, writes Darren Northeast, Managing Director, Darren Northeast PR.

Over the last 17+ years of business, networking has been the backbone of our company, with 95% of our workload coming from networking connections and referrals.

Over the years we have been a part of many networking groups, from the Dorset Chamber to the Boardroom Network, ONLE and more – we have so much great experience and insight we’d love to pass on to you.

Digital vs in-person networking

During Covid, the networking game was brought to an abrupt halt, with the networking industry having to come up with quick replacements for in-person events. While moving these usually quite extensive events online meant there were a lot of cutbacks of content, a silver lining quickly emerged…

These online events meant that people could join from wherever they were located, opening the networking pool up massively. There were no longer limits to the type of people you could interact with, opening your business up past the limitations of your location. For example, we had been invited to take part in multiple virtual networking events across the country that we normally wouldn’t have been able to attend – one even in New York of all places!

While online networking is great, there’s something different about doing it all in person. When you are able to talk to someone face to face, it leaves a much more impressionable meeting and makes it more likely that they’ll remember you – never underestimate the simple power of a handshake and a business card!

The wonders of word of mouth

Networking also makes great use of word of mouth, a known useful tool for marketing. Even if the people you talk to don’t require your services, a lot of the time they will know someone that does, or will even bring you up in discussion if they meet someone that could benefit from your services.

However, this word of mouth also makes your first impression that much more important, as the way you present yourself will directly reflect on your business. That’s why aligning yourself with your company values, and making sure you are a good representative of your business, is vital in making these strong connections.

If you take anything away it should be this…

Networking in itself is another PR tool you can utilise, and you don’t even need to hire a PR company to do it. It’s so simple to get your name out there in this way and make those vital connections that can catapult your business ahead – as long as you do it in the right way…

Make sure you’re listening, while it’s all well and good promoting yourself and your business, if you’re not letting the others speak and being genuinely interested in what they have to say, then you won’t get very far – networking is a two-way street and if the other people don’t feel listened to, then they aren’t going to be interested in working with you further.

Always keep your business cards on you, and make sure they’re of good quality. You can tell a lot about a company from their business cards, so you need to make sure their quality aligns with the content you create – a simple spelling mistake or alignment issue is going to tell someone all they need to know about your attention to detail…

Lastly, you can’t solely rely on the initial networking meeting. Creating a deep connection with another business or potential client doesn’t happen out of nowhere, it takes time and following up to create a strong business relationship that you can both rely on – even if it means taking them for coffee or walks 100 times before something comes out of it.

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At Darren Northeast PR, Digital PR is something we know like the back of our hands, and as one of the leading public relations agencies on the south coast, we have a plethora of great tools, resources and experts that can maximise all of these elements in the best way for your business. For enquiries, support, or just a simple conversation – you can be sure that DNPR can give you exactly what you need. To get in touch or find out more visit our website at darrennortheast.co.uk