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7 tips for Networking

May 7, 2012

Attending a successful networking events coincides with a successful business.

But I know this is never easy. I know as a newbie to the networking world, it’s scary to walk in to a room full of strangers and strike up a conversation. This is something that most people dread, but it’s an excellent way to connect with people and allow your business to grow.

Here are 7 tips from the entrepreneur that may be helpful the next time you attend a party:

Arrive early. Arriving early to a party rather than staying later will always is more beneficial. It will be a lot calmer at the beginning and easier to start a conversation with a small group.

Ask easy questions. Being a wallflower at these types of events isn’t the point, you want to mingle with others and ask easy to answer questions such as, “may I join you?” or “what brings you to this event today?” This will be an easy way to insert yourself into the conversation. The key here is to listen to the response and process it. Although this may be just small talk, you want to engage in the conversation.

Ditch the sales pitch. Although you may be at an event to build your business, networking is all about relationships. You want to make sure you build a relationship with a person before you start selling them your product or service. This conversation isn’t meant to be serious and about business, let yourself be fun and outgoing.

If a potential customer does ask you about your business or service, be ready to explain to them a description of your company and recent accomplishments. Prepare before hand some mental notes about your business and what you would like to share with potential clients

Share your passion. Let others know that you have a personality and life outside of work. Not everyone is a workaholic, people like to know what you like to do outside of the work environment. This can also be another way to connect with someone and build a relationship off of similar interests.

Don’t hijack the conversation. No one likes to talk to someone who is constantly talking. Be sure that the conversation is a two-way street and both parties are able to ask questions and answer them. Be sure you make the other person feel special in some way or acknowledged. People like compliments and flattery.

Smile. I know this is easy to say and something everyone thinks they do, but it’s not always that easy.  You will come across as warm and engaging if you just put on a simple smile.

Remember to follow up.  At the end of every conversation, make sure you get a business card from those who you talked to and even those who you weren’t able to. This will be a good way to follow-up with them if you wanted to have a conversation but there wasn’t enough time. Ask them what the best way to contact them would be. Some people like phone, email or even social media, such as LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours to ensure they remember who you were and remind them of the conversation you had.

Any other tips you have? Please share!


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 2:23 pm

    Bring more business cards with you than you think! I also try to connect with people before attending the event. Most events these days have a Facebook page so I always like to post on the page a few times and also send friend requests to those who are attending. It’s a great way to start some dialogue and have a friend at the event when you arrive!

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