10 Tips for Effective Networking

June 12, 2014 by  

We all go to networking events, however are reaping the benefits we should from the time we have spent? Yes we need to do this, however in order to gain from these outings we must formulate a plan that will result in new relationships that could be beneficial.

1. Bad with names?
If you meet new people all the time, it can be difficult to remember everyone’s name. You may even be unaware that you have met the person before! Try to repeat the name a few times during the conversation in order to reinforce it. When you part, say goodbye using their name again. Associate it with something about the person or even about their business card. Invent some sort of technique that will help you to recall the name the next time you meet them.

2. Never underestimate the power of a smile!
Smiling is a universal language and creates a positive beginning to any exchange. If someone smiles at you, you smile back, it is a natural reaction. Our brains are wired to function this way.

Research outlines many positive effects of smiling:
Raising your mood and making you feel positive due to an increase in endorphins in your brain
Boosting your immune system
Reducing your blood pressure
Increasing your self-confidence
Harnessing the charismatic impact of smiling can significantly impact your professional and personal life. When you meet someone new, hold off on sharing your smile until you have been given his or her name. Then, as you shake that person’s hand, look into his or her eyes and deliver the best big smile you can muster. You will be more likely to gain a friend.

3. Exchange information.
It is best to swap business cards or information when you first meet. Make it a natural part of your introduction. Create a short, clear infomercial for these sorts of opportunities…one that provides just enough information to peak interest in getting to know more about what you do.

4. Musical chairs.
If you are networking with a colleague or friend, don’t sit beside him or her at the event. Rather seek out people that you do not know and keep moving around during the event so that you can continue to network with new people and let the communication flow.

5. Get out there!
If you cannot attend networking events on a regular basis because of the nature of your business, get online. Try to make new contacts each week. In the end, do try to meet new contacts in person to truly establish those meaningful relationships or arrange a Skype meeting. Be authentic with people, tell them who you are and why you want to connect. Never spam people with information that is irrelevant to their business. You might want to start with LinkedIn; there are over 225 million users and it is the best platform for business people. Recruiters actually look for candidates on this platform.

6. Start talking.
Asking questions is always a good way to discover what you can do for someone else as well as an excellent means for learning more about this new person and their business. People love talking about what they love! Be sure to listen actively in order to really gain insight into this contact.

7. Tongue tied?
If you are a little uncomfortable in crowds of people you do not know and worried about speaking up in groups or in public, do not worry….most people share that concern! Practice your infomercial so that it sounds natural and listen more than you talk…you will learn more and people will think you are a great conversationalist!

8. Get out of your cubicle.
Active networking is a contact sport. Although we are capable of communicating effectively online nowadays, when possible, get out of your office and meet people in person. Business is still done with people we trust and those relationships are better developed when we chat face to face.

9. Join up.
LinkedIn is a great place to start! If you are networking online, do not assume it is enough to simply join some groups and send some emails. You have to participate in group discussions, your profile needs to be active in order to get noticed. Yes, let the visitors learn what you do and what you offer, however do not make that the focus. Be more about how you can help others and they will be likely to want to help you!

10. Work on an engaging intro.
When at a networking or exhibiting event and someone asks you, What do you do?  have a short, interesting answer that begs more questions. This is not a sales pitch….just give them enough information that will encourage them to ask for more. You are your brand and your business. Be sure you are representing your best interests! Keep the infomercial brief, informative, and friendly. Deliver it conversationally, not like a robot!

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