Although you may not be the official host of the event, you do further your own career and networking goals by taking charge and becoming the host. Work the room. . . for yourself and in the process, help others. Or. . . at least play the part of a greeter. You don’t need permission to do what everyone should already be doing when they network!
Enter the room with the right mindset. Don’t be shy. Let your personality show. If you meet someone and know they might be a good connection for someone you just met across the room, help make the introduction. Greet each new acquaintance with an openness to learn more about that person, a willingness to help, and an offer to stay in touch.
Acknowledge others: Seek eye contact. Greet people with a simple “hello” or “how are you?” It is a lost courtesy. And if you smile then you will invariably receive a pleasant response. I found this to be the best and easiest opener. Then I listen. People say things on their minds. And then the conversation is off and running.
Be a friendly and cheerful greeter with a genuine smile when you meet other guests. Start conversations without fear of rejection. Ask questions that will get you noticed. A good question is: “So where else do you normally network?” Or. . . “So what do you like best about what you do?”
General George Patton, no shrinking violet, said it well: “The most vital qualities a successful person can possess is self-confidence – utter and complete heart, spirit, and audacity. You can have doubts about your good looks, your intelligence, about your self-control – but to win, you must have no doubts about your abilities.”
Be a regular at networking events. Networking is one of the most profitable activities in which one can engage. To get the most out of your networking experience, you need to build a relationship with people who you want to have contact with.
Show interest. Pay attention. Keep in mind that your goal is to gain and exchange information. You can solicit the information you want by talking and directing the conversation, but then you need to listen. Bob Burg sez: “When you meet someone new and hope to establish what could be a very mutually beneficial business relationship, let them talk… about themselves.”
Spending too long with any one person defeats the purpose of networking. Your objective is to take advantage of the entire room. Spend most of your time and effort with people who can help each other out, for the long term. However, you will be better off with only talking with 5 people than to try to say “hello” to everyone in the room. Take the time to cultivate a rapport.
Leverage your existing contacts by sharing them with others. Accelerate your networking results by sharing networking tips with new attendees. Networking isn’t about the quantity of contacts you make; it’s about the quality of relationships you enjoy.
Introduce those you know to others attending the group. Talk to them about how you can help them. Learn how their business can help you. Any business owner is appreciative when they are introduced to various potential customers.
There is more to networking than greeting people. Develop a step-by-step plan for how you’ll build relationships and how you can effectively tell your story at the next event.
Don’t tell others of the referral you require; “show them” with a story.
Networking is less about meeting new people than having them remember you. If at networking events you’re listening while they’re talking, and then you ask a good follow-up question based on the information you just heard, you’re going to be more likely to stand out in their minds.
When networking salt conversations with tidbits about yourself and your business but always end your self-introduction with a question directed to the person you are talking to. They will get excited about their own answers and associate that excitement with meeting you.
At least once a month, introduce two people to each other without any immediate expectation for personal gain. They will remember you!
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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