Business Networking Tips: Plan To Say Thank You
Deepen your relationships and raise your own profile too ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 15/07/2015 @ 8:00AM
Most business networking groups have two types of slot where members all actively participate. A 60 second (or less) slot to promote their business and another slot, usually less formal and untimed, to thank others for their help ...
Saying thank you at your business networking group matters!
I often get asked for help in writing good 60 second presentations but have never been asked for help in writing good thank you speeches.
"I wonder why?"
Experience of listening to people using this opportunity in meetings would suggest that they are no better at winging it when saying thank you than they are at promoting their own services.
I suspect they are not taking this opportunity seriously enough and only think what to say when the moment comes up. I am going to confess here that I am as guilty of this as everyone else, so note to self: take your own advice Jacky!
What would happen if you spent as much care planning your thank you speeches as you do your promotion speech?
It will deepen your relationship with the person you thank for a start as being appreciated always improves relationships. None of us like being taken for granted and although we don't do things just to be thanked, it gives us a good feeling when someone acknowledges our efforts.
Then if someone takes the trouble to plan out their thank you and state it publicly, it's doubly flattering! It will raise the stature of the person who helped you.
"Remember that business networking is all about Givers Gain®"
If someone does something for you, it makes you want to do something for them in return. That can be uncomfortable if you are not able to refer them or even help them in return right now, so thanking them in public is a way of giving back - so always do it properly.
In your thanks, you can recommend them for the help they gave you and raise their credibility in the group. Who knows it might just tip someone into trusting them with a referral.
It also raises your own visibility and, more importantly, your credibility. You get another chance to boost your profile in the group for the right reasons as you show that you are willing to be helped and prepared to say in public that you welcomed it.
I wouldn't underestimate how much that means. People like people who show a bit of humility. No one likes the smart ass do they? It encourages others to help you too and remember that in business networking we're all there to help each other.
If you give the impression that you are all seeing and all knowing, others may feel that they have nothing to offer you. Going public about the help you received shows people that there is a wide range of ways that they can help you.
So what tips can I give you to improve your thank you speech?
Plan it in advance
It's a speech, so prepare what you are going to say and be professional as it's part of your business.
Keep it brief
It is not an opportunity to hog the floor or make the meeting over run. As a guide, say no longer than 3 sentences and limit yourself to thanking one or two people per meeting. If you have lots of people to thank then spread it across lots of meetings.
Make it timely
As soon as you have a result from their help is the best time to thank them. That way you can give others the evidence that this person's help is worth having.
Give it real content, not just noise
It's not an Oscar speech to thank your Mum for giving birth to you! What help did they give you and what was the impact? It doesn't have to be a life changing result, but share what it has meant to you.
Here's an example that I shared at a NNcoNNect networking breakfast recently:
"Thank you to Paul (Green) for helping me quickly build my network in Northamptonshire. 3 years ago I knew hardly anyone in the county, I now know over 300 people, mainly through Paul. Of my top 12 referral relationships in the county, 10 were introduced to me by Paul."
So this coming week take the time to write a short thank you speech for someone in your network who has helped you and tell us all what a difference that help has made for you.
A plea to business network organisers: give the thank you slot more prominence in your meeting agenda. It is a powerful way to help your members to build trusting relationships.
"Here's a thought that I am trying out. Switch it all around!"
How about starting the meeting with the thank yous rather than leaving it until the end when everyone is mentally preparing to leave?
Are you based in Northampton? Would you like to improve your business networking skills? Or maybe you're a new business and unsure of where to start? I'd love to talk to you on 07970 638857 so give me a call today and let's work have an initial chat over a coffee to see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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