We’ve all heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth”, however making meaningful connections isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to the networking game. The key to building a strong network is simply getting started. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your network starts to grow when you start putting effort into to building new relationships.

In the spirit of building meaningful connections amongst entrepreneurs (and any one interested in entrepreneurship) we’re hosting our annual Entrepreneurs’ Harbour Cruise this December (if you haven’t got a ticket yet, get yours here). In the lead up to this event we chatted to networking pros about the value of connecting with like-minded people, and got some tips about how you can get the most out of any networking event:


Petar Lackovic – Head of Training and Development at The Entourage
How has networking helped you?
Networking is a way to communicate your brand, message, vision, mission and values. It lets you create strategic partnerships, open doors and can be an accelerator to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. There is no substitute for being liked by a bunch of people.

Can you give us your best networking tips?
Tip 1: Prepare your 5 second commercial
You’ve got to know your own 5 second commercial – Americans call this an ‘elevator pitch’. Introduce yourself using this 5 second pitch at all networking events. Here are the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of a strong elevator pitch:

1. Don’t just tell others what you do. People don’t care about your business name, industry or job title.
2. Don’t tell them about the outcome of what you do.

1. Write down what you do.
2. Write down the outcome of what you do.
3. Write down the outcome and effect this has in the eyes of your customer.
4. When networking feed this back to the person you are meeting in reverse order.

For example if you are a social media coordinator you would write this down:

1. What I do? Social media coordinator
2. What is the outcome? Build community and generate leads.
3. What is the effect in the eyes of customers? Produce inspirational and educational content.

Your 5-second elevator pitch would be:

“I create inspirational and educational content for our audience to build community and generate more leads.”

Tip 2: Remember the TED vs TING law.
People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care, so be  interesTED before you try and be interesTING. Be more engaged in the people you are talking to than you are in yourself.

Tip 3: Use the Law of Reciprocity
This law states if you do something to somebody than they feel indebted to do the same back. Always introduce yourself by name first and then ask theirs.

Jack Delosa – Founder of The Entourage
How has networking helped you?
Not for how I’ve grown The Entourage, but rather how I’ve navigated my career. Entrepreneurship is often founded in being able to unite people around a purpose. The strength of an entrepreneur’s path is often a direct reflection of the people they surround themselves with – mentors, advisors, friends, team members, investors, partners – everyone you need to actualise your vision will be carried through by relationships.

Do you have any networking tips?
To network effectively put yourself in the right environment. Free networking often ends up costing you more in time wasted. Get around the people that will help lift you higher, that means getting in the right circles and often we need to invest to do this.

Jess Wilson – Founder of Stashd
How has networking helped you?
Networking when you’re starting out is pinnacle as it helps you meet people you wouldn’t normally come across. I met my contact from Forbes in a girls bathroom who has helped me with PR coverage! People like to go to people they know, so I’ve had multiple PR opportunities from people who automatically approach me as we have connected before.

Do you have any networking tips?
Don’t treat networking like a business transaction. Instead just be real with people, start up a genuine conversation, don’t make it sound too forced. You can then lead into a business conversation. Make sure you exchange details with them before you leave and then send a follow up email afterwards. I always include something from the conversation we had at the event to make it more personalised.

Joris Cuesta – Brand Experience Manager at The Entourage
How has networking helped you?
Networking needs to be a generous exercise,  a true connector introduces other people and in turn people generally respond by returning the favour and helping you connect. What goes around, comes around; if you connect others, then they will want to help you! This has enabled me to secure main acts at events in the past, get in touch with key producers for film festivals and get introduced to decision makers within large corporations to fast track approval for deals.

Do you have any networking tips?
​Be real, natural, keep your edge and be you. Always have a set agenda with clear outcomes you want to get from a networking event, but stay open minded for an unannounced encounter or meeting. Before attending have a look at the event guest list, if you have access to it, or try to find out what companies will be represented that you want to get in touch with. You can use attendees, friends or connections to get introduced to the people you want to meet at the event. 

Inspired to start building your personal network after reading this? Book your ticket to our Entrepreneurs’ Harbour Cruise for your chance to build meaningful connections with entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors. Whether you own a business or not this cruise is an opportunity to meet like-minded connectors.