Networking is one of the most pivotal tools for any entrepreneur. Building your network allows you to expand your list of potential clients and contacts that are necessary to improve your business.
Many people go to networking events but don’t know how to network efficiently and effectively. By following these six simple tips, you’ll be able to make a lasting impression on the people that will do business with you or introduce you to those who will.
You never know who you will run into in the future and how they could affect your professional career. Be kind to every person you meet and be engaged in every conversation you have.
Before going to a networking event, make sure you set an objective of what you want to accomplish while being there. Whether your goal is to hand out eight business cards or to talk to a minimum of five attendees, having a target to reach for will not only lower your nerves, but will also boost your confidence for future networking events.
Some networking events have accessible guest lists. If you can get your hands on one, familiarize yourself with those who will be attending: both speakers and attendees. Google them, look them up on LinkedIn, and surf their company’s website to get to know them better. This will provide you with pre-planned icebreakers and conversation starters to avoid any sort of awkwardness. Also, you can look out for certain people you want to converse with based on similar interests or those who you feel would be a strong fit for your network.
Everyone is good at something. Whatever it is that you’re good at, work on it, emphasize it and offer it to those you network with. It’s better to have one area (or a few areas) that you’re an expert in, instead of being mediocre at a lot of different things. This will have you stand out in a large group of individuals and will allow you to search for others who have strengths in other areas to help augment and build your network.
If you had a valuable conversation with somebody, or if you want to follow up or further continue a discussion with one of the attendees, don’t hesitate to hand them one of your business cards. Better yet, if you can get a hold of one of their business cards, you can reach out to them and encourage communication. Always write down the event and date on the back of the business cards you collect (along with a short note) so that you can specifically remember the conversation.
You only have seven seconds to give off a first impression. With that being said, body language and attitude is key when it comes to creating that initial positive image. At a networking event, you want to come off as confident and professional. Have an open torso with uncrossed arms, keep your head and chest up, smile at people walking by, and mirror other’s body language.