Networking with wine glasses

Does the idea of networking fill you with dread? Perhaps you’re just a bit rusty after the pandemic and you need a nudge to get back out there?  Or maybe you’re a seasoned networker who loves to get out and about pressing the flesh!

Whichever camp you fall into, I’ve pulled together my top 10 networking tips for 2023…

  • Hit up the host!  See if you can obtain a list of attendees from the host before the event.  That way you can see if you know anyone and agree to meet them there or meet them beforehand, so you arrive together.  If a full attendee list isn’t available, at least reach out to the host and tell them what sort of people you would ideally like to meet and ask them to make some introductions for you.  These introductions could be at the event itself or in advance.  I like to make use of LinkedIn so I can have some idea of what the person looks like which makes finding them in a crowded room so much easier.
  • Take aim!  Especially if you’re nervous it can be helpful to focus on a simple goal such as committing to staying for at least 30 minutes (something achievable you can build upon) or speaking to a minimum of 3 new people.
  • Have something up your sleeve.  If you’re afraid that your conversation might dry up, avoid awkward silences by planning a few ‘safe’ discussion topics beforehand.  It could be something topical that’s happening in your industry or just something you’ve seen in the news.
  • Set your intentions before you go.  Have an understanding of what you want to get out of the event so you use the available time wisely. If your goal is to meet a new architect or an angel investor, don’t spend half the event at the bar with someone you already know well.  Arrange to meet them another time for a catch-up.
  • Don’t expect a sale.  Remember, networking is about developing relationships not selling.  A sale may ultimately transpire down the line, however nobody will appreciate being pitched to within the first 10 minutes of meeting you.
  • Listen.  Don’t just talk.  Make sure you are actively listening to the people you meet. 
  • Talk about your problems.  I don’t mean tell people about your latest medical drama or your lazy children.  Tell people about a business challenge you may have.  It can help to share the burden and showing your vulnerable side can help you bond.  Plus you just never know who in the room may have great advice, a fresh perspective or a contact who can assist.
  • Be a good citizen.  You’re likely to meet some people who aren’t necessarily a good fit for you / your business.  However they may be a great connection for someone you know.  So take their business card and offer to make an introduction for them after the event.  Use the notes section of your phone, send yourself an email reminder, or simply write on the back of their card.
  • Quality over quantity.  Don’t be that person that simply collects a business card from every person in the room.  Remember your overarching aim and have quality conversations with real connections.
  • It’s all about the follow up.  It’s good practice to do this within a day or two when both sides have a fresh recollection of what you talked about and why you initially connected.

Do you have any networking tips to add?  Please share them in the comments below.

Barry Rea

Canary Homes


  • George Ramsay (Geared Partnerships)

    Great tips, Barry!

    I’ll be sharing this with my colleagues for sure!


  • Louise Doolan

    Thanks for sharing, some really good tips here!


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