7 Business Networking Tips
Networking is important for succeeding in any business, however, many of us feel uncomfortable walking into a room and introducing ourselves to strangers. There are ways to network that can ease the nervousness and feel just as natural as talking to a friend. Continue reading for simple business networking tips that can help you make valuable business contacts.
1. Arrive on time
Showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there late. As an early attendee, you’ll notice that people haven’t settled into groups yet allowing you to find someone who doesn’t have a conversation partner and strike up a conversation.
2. Ask questions
Instead of waiting for someone to approach you, get the conversation started by approaching a person or group and asking a simple question such as “What brings you to this event” or “May I join you”? Listen to the other person’s reply and respond accordingly. Listening attentively can be a great way to get to know someone.
3. Forget the sales pitch
Networking is about relationship building. Remember to keep conversations light, fun, and informal. It’s not necessary to begin your sales pitch within minutes of meeting someone. The idea is to simply get the conversation started. People are more likely to partner with or do business with someone who is easy to talk to and whose company they enjoy.
4. Share your passion
Win people over with your enthusiasm for what you do. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about what inspired you to enter your field. Talking about what you enjoy is contagious, inspiring the other person to share what they are passionate about which creates a memorable conversation.
It seems simple, but the best way you can put yourself and other people at ease is to smile. Smiling helps you come across as warm and inviting. Smile as you enter the room and before you begin a conversation. Even if you are dreading the event, make sure you check your negative attitude at the door and put on a smile.
6. Don’t dominate the conversation
The most successful networkers are those who make other people feel special and important. Look people in the eye when conversing with them, listen to what they are saying, and discuss topics that are easy to talk about. If you want to make a good impression at a networking event, remember to talk less and listen more.
7. Follow up
If you’ve had a great conversation with someone, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people prefer professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, while others prefer exchanging telephone numbers or email addresses. Get in touch with the person within 48 hours of the event to let him or her know you are interested in maintaining contact. To ensure the person remembers you, mention something the two of you talked about.
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