If you are attending events as part of your strategy to meet more people and gain business, then here are some honest tips to get your networking working! Warning: we’re going to be very honest and you may even be able to relate to some of these situations!
Check out what event’s are coming up at Wanneroo Business Association so you can put these in to practice once you have read them.
Nobody is going to come over and introduce themselves to you if you don’t look like you want to be spoken to. Make eye contact and smile, encouraging conversation and introductions. A name badge helps to break the ice when you first meet someone.
You are attending the event to make new connections so make sure your body language is open and welcoming. If you have your back to the door as people walk in, it won’t look like you want to talk to people arriving! Your body language gives off signals to other people, so be aware of any habits you may have and be confident….but not too confident because nobody likes that either!
There is nothing worse than meeting someone for the first time that is interested in you and your business, and you have no business cards. Always make sure you have some!
You should have business cards handy, you never know when you might bump in to someone. Don’t get caught without business cards, maybe your new order is stuck in the post….then make sure you get their card and send them your details by email when you get back to the office.
A firm but gentle handshake is all that is required when you meet someone.
So you finally strike up the courage to approach someone new and you get chatting to them. Then comes the obvious question, ‘so what do you do?’ If you don’t have your elevator pitch down to a tee to respond to this question, then get practising! You need to leave them knowing exactly what you do, speak clearly and confident and finish by asking them the question back.
It’s not all about you. If you spend 15 minutes talking about yourself, and you haven’t asked questions or shown any interest in them, then you have lost any chance of doing business by showing how much you don’t care about them. Nobody likes the person that only talks about themself!
When you arrive and the event has started, this can make it hard to break into conversations to introduce yourself. If it is an event you attend regularly, look for people you have met before as a warmer way to start talking. If you don’t know anybody, look at the body language around the room. Examples of groups you can go over to could be:
– A group of 3 people chatting in a circle, with an open gap for you to step into and say hi
– 2 people talking, with an opening for a third person to join
If you aren’t comfortable in networking situations then ask the event staff to introduce you to someone, tell them it is your first time and ask them to facilitate an introduction
An example of groups that shouldn’t be interrupted would be closed circles, 3 people facing each other with no gap to enter are obviously having a closed conversation so find another opportunity.
Before you arrive, tell yourself how many cards you would be happy to collect. This means once you are there, you can keep an eye on the time and make sure you are working the room. But be careful not to set this number too high, you don’t want to come across as the person that’s there to collect cards and not engage properly!
We’ve all been to an event and ended up getting stuck with someone. It is ok to say, ‘it’s been lovely to meet you, there are a few other people I need to catch up with’ and ask for a business card before you move on. You are giving your time so make sure you use it wisely and move on to meet more people.
This is key, especially if you connect with someone. It doesn’t give off a great first impression when you tell them you will send them some information, and then don’t!
A tip for managing your follow up is to mark the date and event on their business card or keep the cards of people you meet at one event in a separate pile.
This was written by Wanneroo Business Association, check out our networking events here
Thank you for taking the time to read Honest Tips To Get Your Networking Working!
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