By Lyndsey Hall
Nobody likes networking. It’s a fact of life. Some people are brilliant at it, but nobody really enjoys it. Unfortunately though, it is a necessary evil for many of us, so we may as well make the most of the opportunity!
Here are our top ten tips for networking success:
- Arrive early – that way, everyone who arrives after you has to talk to you
- Stand near the food/drink – you’ll get a lot more traffic if they have to pass you to get to the buffet (just don’t talk while you’re eating!)
- Always carry extra business cards!
- Wear something smart, but accessible; it’s a work environment, but you don’t want to intimidate people!
- No jargon – Say what you do, don’t just reel off your impressive job title
- Listen more than you talk – everybody loves talking about themselves and their business; if you give people what they want, i.e. an ear to talk off, you’ll be very popular! Asking open questions will get them talking and leave them thinking you had a great meeting
- Be brief and engaging – make them want to know more, that way you’ll be more likely to get that follow up meeting
- If you find yourself stuck talking to someone for too long, introduce them to someone else they might benefit from connecting with, and excuse yourself
- Always follow up – even just a quick call or email to say ‘Nice to meet you’
- Deliver on your promises – if you tell someone that you’ll put them in touch with your colleague who can help them with their latest project, do it!
Our final piece of advice might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often you forget to do this when you’re feeling nervous or self-conscious: Smile! Your body language says a lot, even when you don’t, so if you look open and relaxed you’re more likely to come across as approachable. If you stand in a corner with your arms crossed nobody is going to want to speak to you, so you may as well have gone straight home! You’d have gotten just as much business – none. Remember: networking isn’t all about selling, it can also be great for meeting potential new suppliers; so don’t just steam in with your sales pitch, take the time to find out about each person you speak to before deciding whether they are a potential client or a potential supplier.
Networking CAN be relatively painless, and incredibly valuable if done right. Follow our top 10 tips and you’ll be a hit at your next event!
Do you have any more advice for successful networking? We’d love to hear from you in the Comments or on Facebook and Twitter @KnowlesWarwick.