Attending networking events whether you are a business owner or representing the company you work for can be interesting, inspiring and may even lead to future work. Take a moment to review the events you attended in 2016 were there any, where you felt like you were being bludgeoned to death by some boring person talking “at you” about the attributes of their business that you were not interested in at all? Or worse do you think you were that person?
So when it comes to networking don’t be the person that others avoid. Here are 7 tips on how to make friends and have a good time that may lead eventually to work:
- Look your best – you may have been at work all day but take a moment to look in the mirror, comb your hair, shine your shoes and think about what your are wearing and is it appropriate business attire that will represent you and your business or company in a positive manner. Also check the deodorant expiry time, is it still working?
- Have an outfit that has pockets. For men this is easy for women you need to plan what you are going to wear. Holding a handbag, glass and eating a canapé while handing out a business card and receiving one, all becomes a true juggling act, so a pocket certainly helps.
- Business Cards – buy a nice holder to keep them in, not shoved in your wallet or purse so they are bent and losing their first impression appeal.
- If you go with someone don’t just talk to them all night, take the plunge and introduce yourself to others you don’t know and ask the other person what they do.
- Being respectful and listen. Too often when we are nervous we just keep chattering away until the other persons ears bleed.
- It’s all about building rapport. If you go to a networking event thinking that you need to get back the money you have spent attending then don’t bother even showing up. Your attitude will clearly state how you feel as if you had a sign on your forehead. People need to get to know you and what you do, building trust over time.
- Make yourself known to the organiser/host during the event, not only when you first enter while they are trying to write out last minute name tags, arrange AV equipment that is not working (while trying not to have a total melt down) as they won’t be focused on you and what you are saying. Approach them also at the end of the event to thank them. This lasting impression will make a difference and may even have them telling others of what you do and personally introduce you to others at the next event who maybe the connections you are looking for.
Most importantly smile and step forward. You will be amazed by how many other people in the room are feeling the same as you, so step forward and introduce yourself.