Executive And Business Networks In Singapore and Asia Pacific (APAC) For Economic Growth
Executive networks help members improve their effectiveness and gain a competitive advantage in business. Executive network members share new ideas, solve specific problems and uncover best practices in a non-competing group. You can participate in networking activities and join networking groups for increased business effectiveness.
Every person you meet is a potential networking contact. A network replaces the weakness of an individual with the strength of a support system. Networking can be difficult. Reaching out to make and maintain contacts remains a tough task for many. Networking doesn’t come naturally to many people. Effective networking is a continuous process requiring consistent attention. Networking is a two-way relationship. Networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. Executive networks can help with competitive insights and with exposure to new opportunities.
Networking can be done in-person, online or both. Meeting contacts face-to-face allows you to develop stronger bonds. Networking online is beneficial with the speed and ease of electronic communication. Executive networks can be facilitated by trained experts.
Let's talk about inviting people to your business events in this article. The tips that I am going to share later applies to not only business related events but also normal events as well.
If you have tried inviting people to come for your business events be it networking or talks, you will agree with me that it is not easy to get the numbers especially if you are inviting business man and women because they prioritize almost all events according to ROI (Return On Investment) - if your event does not justify their time to be there, then most probably you will have a poor turnout.
Based on my experiences and observations from the other very experienced networkers in my business circle, I realize that there are only three things that you need to do it probably in order to have a high turn-up rate for your events.
1. Is this what they need?
I do not invite every person I meet to my business events such as BNI. If the first thing you meet someone new is to ask him / her to come to your event, then this is something that you may want to stop and re-think on.
Listening is by far the most important skill we need to learn and refine (not only for business). Thus, the first thing before we even start inviting is to ask relevant questions. For example, if you are holding an event for Internet Entrepreneurs to come together and network, you need to ask and assess if the person you are talking to has this area of interest.
A good question you can start off is, 'Have you been to other business networking events?'. This question not only help you understand them better but also make them reveal if they think they needed such exposure. You will be surprised that some business owners will answer this question admitting that they should go around networking more often! Now, do you think if you invite them to your event at this point of time, the person will be far more receptive and appreciate your invitation?
2. Persistent - the additional effort that makes the difference
A lot of invitations I receive nowadays rarely exceeds more than 3 times. If you are holding an event that happens regularly (for example, monthly), you must be persistent and keep inviting no less than 7 times. Most of the times, people are kind enough to tell you that they have other commitments and couldn't attend your event. If this is the case, invite them again when your next event is coming up. This kind of followup is the key that makes the difference.
I remembered I was inviting a business associate of mine who has rejected me no less than 5 to 10 times (I lost count...) because of his usual morning commitments. One day he finally make it to my BNI (Business Network International) event and thank me for inviting him to attend such an eye-opening event. I think sometimes we just have to be persistent especially if you see that your event adds value to the others.
3. Reminders - the secret to 100% turnouts
I never know that a simple reminder can make such a big difference until I came across a material by Dr. Ivan Misner who mentions that reminders are important and we should remind the people who have agreed to come for our events one or two days before the event.
It can be frustrating sometimes if you see that the person you have invited did not turn up in the end just because they forgot. Hence, a simple reminder either through phone or SMS can be very helpful. At the time of posting, there are already systems in place to send out automated reminders to people who have registered for events. One company that can help you to leverage this technology is FlexiSoft - managed by Norman Chin from BNI Singapore, Raffles Chapter.
How To Make an Effective Management Conference
Key things that Betruedesign recommends to consider for increasing effectiveness of an executive network are:
- Build your network before you need it.
Constantly build and strengthen your connections with your network. Do something to build your network each and every day.
- Reach out to others.
Identify the specific need you have and then contact people who are in a position to help you fulfill that specific need. Don’t be afraid in asking for help.
- Be specific.
Be specific in what you’re asking for. The clearer you make it for your network, the better your results will be. The more people know about your needs and objectives, the better they’ll be able to help.
- Be a valuable resource.
Actively foster relationships. Networking must be a two-way relationship. Its easy to move forward by helping people who ask for assistance. Only this way your network will be stronger when you need it. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship.
- Increase your visibility.
Establish yourself as an influencer. Mentor, speak at conferences, and participate in volunteering work.
- Use technology.
Social media can also be effective in helping you achieve your networking goals.
- Go deep and wide.
Build relationships with professionals across industries and locations, not just peer-level contacts.
- Say thank you.
Always show your appreciation to members in your executive network.
At Betruedesign we strongly believe “Networking Is About Sharing”. It is about forming trust and helping one another toward goals.