Networking is not about swooping into the room, collecting lots of business cards, or tossing them like confetti, then doing a vanishing act. It’s about building close personal relationships one day at a time. It’s offering your hand to a stranger to assist them in any way you can.
How about letting the other person speak first? Then ask questions. The person who is asking the questions is in control of the conversation. Knowing what the other person is all about will help you tailor your message and deliver it with more relevance.
Identify possibility in every conversation. When you intentionally look for it, you will almost always find it. Communication enables people to connect. Keep the conversation on a positive level at all times. It opens people’s minds to opportunity.
Make observations. Share some trivia. Listen for things you have in common. Make small talk. Remember your purpose is to look for people with which to develop mutually beneficial, long-lasing relationships. Make your first hello upbeat, positive and friendly. If you don’t like your line of work, don’t talk about it. Be prepared. They will generally get around to asking what you do. Have your 30- second connection ready.
Have fun. Smile and talk to lots of people. Do not play it safe by mixing only with business colleagues and good friends. Make good eye contact. Mix and mingle. If you have “minglephobia,” get over it quickly by doing what you fear. Relax. Remind yourself that you are not the only one at this event who may be a little nervous. Expand your horizons. Move past your fears. Speaking positively helps you conquer self-doubt and energizes your spirit.
What should you say at a networking event?
Asking, “What do you do?” is a mistake. That brings up a topic you most likely know nothing about. Do some research. Be tuned in to what’s happening in your city. Read the paper, look for humorous articles or movie reviews you could talk about. Develop some preplanned, interesting conversation starters.
You can greatly increase your conversation confidence by developing specific questions to help you begin and by designing answers to the questions most frequently asked about your business. Trust your instincts. Be yourself.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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