When it comes to networking it’s the personal touch that counts

Almost two thirds said that face to face networking was the most effective in securing new business

Despite the hype surrounding social networking sites, this sort of networking clearly does not apply in the business world.

While particularly the younger generation of business people have been criticised for relying too heavily on new media communication such as e-mail, and even text, the most important means of communication when it comes to securing new business if face to face networking.

A new research project by Vodafone has revealed that the personal touch is critical to business and making face-to face meetings is the number 1 way of securing new business.

So here are some top tips on how to rediscover the art of face-to-face networking.

What you should know

Networking is an investment, not a nuisance – Well networked people don't have to waste time sending off random emails to people they don't know, buying leads or industry lists, or hunting through hundreds of resumes for the right candidate.

Don't spend too much time on it – If you wear yourself out, you won't ever want to do it. Accept your limitations and just do 1 or 2 events a month. It takes a long time to build these relationships, so it's better to stick with a few groups over the long haul than 10 groups for two months.

Talk about what you’ve done – Discuss some of the things you've done and make sure they are relevant to the conversation. You may want to be accepted for what you think and know, but the truth is that the world measures you by what you do.

Don't network just for the sake of networking – As you meet more people, focus on spending your time with the ones that are the best fit, and focus less on meeting new people.

Invite people to lunch – Or invite them to coffee or for a beer after work. Break down the barriers and develop relationships that are based on more than just business.

Where your clients want to network

 - A top restaurant (47%)

 - Private members club (26%)

 - Golf course (12%)

 - The Pub (31%)

For more information on networking with other small businesses go to www.vodafone.co.uk/business

Vodafone, helping small businesses network