13 Tips to get the results you want at your next networking event.
- Be in a good place
“The quality of your NETWORK is directly proportionate to the quality of your LIFE!” Quoted by Dr. Robert Wright, founder and CEO of the Wright Business Institute. You attract what you are so make sure you are in a good place when you walk through the door of your next event.
- Set a goal
Plan to meet or reconnect with a quantified number of people. Whether it is one or more, when you set a goal to connect with a certain number of business professionals and challenge yourself to not leave without having met that goal, you will be more successful. Do not make your goal to large as quality is better than quantity.
- Bring a buddy
Regardless if you are an introvert or extrovert, this is an excellent way to make great connections. Plan to introduce each other to the new people you meet which will not only help your buddy make more connections, it will make you appear as a great connector and an influential person to know.
- Dress for success and confidence
Remember that it takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.
- Arrive early
Some of the best opportunities to connect with others are available when you arrive to the event before it officially starts. Plan to arrive a few minutes early, and allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. If this is not possible, be sure to be on time and not arrive late. Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late.
This can be the best icebreaker to invite someone else to approach you.
- Look for loners
Make a point of searching for that one person who is standing off in a corner not talking to anyone. Introduce yourself and ask questions to learn about them. You should also introduce them to someone you know to help them on their connection path.
- Swap no more
Do not offer to give someone your card without them asking for it, and do not ask someone for their card without talking to them first. The business card should be the byproduct of the relationship you just started, not the objective.
- Break in with dignity
It is sometimes advantages to break into a pair or group of people talking, but keep in mind that no one likes being interrupted. Take a moment before interjecting into the conversation or introducing yourself and listen to the conversation or you will just appear as being an annoying pest.
- Don’t judge
You never know who is sitting next to you.
- Respect deserves respect
When networking, do not boldly add others to your mailing list without expressly asking them if they would like to receive mailings from you. None of us like to waste our time reading and deleting e-mails that do not interest us regardless of how important the information is that you want to share with them. Ask first.
- Make yourself memorable and likeable
Develop a plan to boost your “memorability” or “likeability” when networking. You can do something silly like wearing a flashing button or always focus your conversations on the other person so they feel comfortable chatting with you. Remember that most people always prefer talking about them then you.
This is the most important tip of all because all of the above is meaningless if you don’t follow up. Send them something free as a “remember me” gift or just send them a nice little note acknowledging the meeting and by all means follow through on any commitments you made with them about future interactions.
I hope you enjoyed these networking tips.