When you network, are you frequently cornered by people who aren’t a good fit for your business that leave you thinking “How do I end this conversation?”. Do you collect dozens of business cards only to find that none of them lead to real connections?
This shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s networking experience, and yet for many of us, it is. Networking should give you an opportunity to build relationships and enjoy a flow of leads while energising and motivating you, and providing you with a great financial and time based ROI.
Make sure your next networking experience is a great one by using the following five ‘Must Do’s’ to improve your relationships, connections, and brand during networking sessions.
Must Do No.1 – Meet the Organiser
Want to know who you should meet? Ask the organiser. They should know everybody worth knowing in the room, and can help point out potential networking opportunities that will most likely to be receptive to meeting with you.
Must Do No.2 – Have GOOD Questions Ready
It’s not enough to know who to network with. You also need to engage with people and explore if they’re a good fit for your business. Not sure where to begin? It’s as simple as asking them to tell you more about themselves, which will help in creating trust and a worthwhile connection.
Must Do No.3 – Enter the Conversation
At some networking events you might not know anyone, and everyone will seem to know someone else. You need to know how to join the conversation and become a part of it. Pay attention to people’s positions and stances. Don’t try and join conversations with two people that are ‘closed-off’ – those people that are deep in an individual conversation. Join a conversation where people are in an ‘open-stance’. Also have something to say to start the conversation when you join a group and also something to say in case an awkward lull in conversation occurs.
Must Do No.4 – Exit the Conversation
Not all conversations will go the way you want them to go. When this happens, know how to gracefully exit it without causing offence. Have some ‘Classy-I’m-out-of-here’ lines that you can use to break away from a conversation or group. It’s the networking equivalent of the “Four Weddings and a Funeral” line where the strange rich-friend starts chatting up a lady and she says she’s waiting for her husband. Rich-friend, skulls his drink and says “Oh look at that I’m out of wine, I might go get another”…
Must Do No.5 – Always Follow Up
The most important ‘Must Do’ to get value out of your networking is to follow up. Keep yourself front of mind with leads by putting automatic processes in place and setting aside time to facilitate the growth of the professional relationship. A great way to do this to is to reach out to good connections comment about the event or meeting them and simply ask them “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Now that you know how to improve your networking odds, why not join our Facebook group so you can start engaging with our community and ask any questions you might have? See you there!