August 15, 2015
Successful Business and Networking Go Hand In Hand
The following are suggestions on Networking 101 and things that you can do to be the most efficient with your time at gatherings.
- Show Up On Time.It’s almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. You don’t get extra referrals for showing up “fashionably late.” As a first arrival, you’ll notice that it’s calmer and quieter – and people won’t have settled into clicks yet. It’s also easier to spot individuals that are arriving solo that you can make feel welcomed and connect with quickly.
- Ask easy questions.Don’t wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Don’t forget to listen intently to their replies. If you’re not a natural extrovert, you’re probably a very good listener – and listening can be an excellent way to get to know a person.
- Ditch the sales pitch.Remember, networking is all about relationships and building those relationships. Keep your exchange informal, light and fun – you don’t need to do the hard sell a person as soon as you meet them. The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more likely to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy. If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company. Before the event, create a mental list of recent accomplishments, such as a new client you’ve landed or project you’ve completed. That way, you can easily pull an item off that list and into the conversation.
- Share your passion.Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation and a deeper connection is established.
- Smile.It’s a simple – but often overlooked – rule of networking events. By smiling, you’ll put your nervous self at ease, and you’ll also come across as warm and inviting to others. Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation. Also if you’re really dreading the event? Check the negative attitude at the door.
- Don’t hijack the conversation.Some people who dislike networking may overcompensate by taking over the discussion. Don’t forget: The most successful networkers are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.
- Remember to follow up.It’s often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you’ve had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you’re interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.
- Don’t forget your business cards. This isn’t so you have to hand them out to everyone you meet but if someone ask you are ready and willing.
If you follow these steps you will have improved your skills as a networker and be more than ready to get your professional networking on at the next event that you attend! If you already do the above we hope that the refresher was enjoyable for you to read!