Most people find networking a bit daunting - but you know how valuable these events can be. Follow these 9 simple tips to become more effective at networking:
- Arrive early
It’s much easier to strike up a conversation with people as they arrive, plus you won’t have to walk in and introduce yourself to established groups.
- Hand out a memorable business card
If you want to be remembered it helps to have a memorable card.
- Have a good answer to ‘So what do you do?’
- Look out for people on their own
Keep an eye out for anyone who seems stranded. Bring them into your conversation and then introduce them around. Your help will be remembered and appreciated.
- Invite one of your clients to come with you
This is a great way to build relationships with existing clients. Also consider using the time before or after the event to talk about how they might benefit from your referrals programme.
At the event, mingle separately but then occasionally break into each other’s conversations to introduce your contacts to each other. This gives you the opportunity to move on and could double the number of connections you make.
- Keep a few open questions to hand
Ideally talk about something topical, as opposed to what you do; but if the conversation stalls it’s good to have an engaging question to hand.
- Invest time with the connectors
Some people are more connected than others so it makes sense to try and meet them, as they are likely to be good networkers. Ask the organisers in advance for a list of attendees and do some research using LinkedIn. Then message those who you are particularly interested in meeting.
- Stop selling, start helping
Consider pinpointing like-minded people from other industries with similar target audiences and see if you can help each other by collaborating or to look for ways to help each other. Write the key points on back of their business card so that you can follow up with something you know will be useful to them; such as the contact details of a recommended copywriter or a good local plumber. This is a great way to initiate a positive business relationship.
- Follow up using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
Consider connecting on LinkedIn with everyone you talked to or those that were of particular interest. In addition, you might use the company’s Twitter account and Facebook page to follow and ‘like’ their business, plus any future interesting posts they make.