Creating relationships is a very important trait in the workplace, many people who are good at creating relationships tend to be used in networking events. Networking events are a great time for different businesses to find people to network with, at these events there is normally a presentation to display what businesses are at the event. Afterwards there is normally many friendly conversations and business cards exchanged. People network in hopes of joint ventures, partnerships, or new areas of expansion with other businesses. Small businesses benefit the most from local networking because even if they do not have any businesses interested, they still benefit from word of mouth marketing.
Most networking happens at an event or just directly contacting a business to build a relationship. Local businesses benefit more from direct face to face networking because it leaves the other business with a face to the small business. For small businesses it is very important to know what they are worth and letting the other businesses know what you intend to get out of networking. Keeping your name relevant and present in the other persons mind will make them more likely to pick you if a business partner is needed.
Many people struggle when starting a conversation without making it awkward, an icebreaker such as a compliment of their business or of a clothing item they could be wearing could dramatically calm nerves. After that start asking about different things that relate to them and get to know them before asking any questions about their business. Keep in mind that building a relationship is important so refer to sports or another topic outside of work. Knowing what your business could benefit from is the most important part of networking. Sometimes it is easier to network at a seminar if you have another co-worker that shares similar traits of building relationships. The last thing to do in a conversation is to find a reason to follow up with the person keeping and hardening a relationship by keeping yourself relevant.
Most people network to benefit the business by gaining a partnership, most of the time there will not be a partnership made. There will however be much information exchanged between both parties and gaining information about that business and other businesses will help benefit your business. Being negative in a conversation will definitely not lead to a relationship, being positive and keeping the conversation going is a guarantee that the person will remember you, not because of your business but because you have personality.