Networking is an important part of both running a business but also for recruitment and career growth. It can open so many doors for an individual, so when you master the art of networking, nothing will hold you back.
Tip 1: Arrive Early
It may seem like a good idea to get to the event a little later so that there are more people there but this will, in fact, mean that people will have settled into little groups of conversation, making your job harder.
Arriving early will mean that you have more time to get yourself together, relax and find the people who don’t have someone to talk to from the start. Once you get your first conversation done, you will feel much more at ease in the process.
Tip 2: Show Your Passion
When you are passionate about your craft, it really shows through when you speak, and this can be the difference between a new business connection and an average conversation.
Your enthusiasm will leave a lasting impression on your conversation partner as well as keeping your conversation fun and interesting. It’s contagious so you’ll encourage them to talk passionately about their business and what they love.
Tell stories about why you got into this industry or why you love what you do; personal stories are always more interesting to hear than a sales pitch.
Tip 3: Smile!
The smallest and simplest tip on the whole list but believe it or not, this could make the most difference to how the event goes for you.
Smiling will help to put your own nerves at ease as well as ensuring that you come across as warm and friendly to your fellow networkers.
Smile before you even enter the room. It will help to invite others to talk to you and put them at ease when talking to you. Don’t go into a networking event with a bad attitude, leave it outside the door.
Tip 4: Don’t Try and Control the Conversation
Sometimes when we get nervous, we try to overcompensate by almost trying to control the conversation to get our point across.
Don’t forget that sometimes listening is more important than talking when it comes to networking. When you listen, you learn about that individual, and therefore you can tailor your conversation to suit them.
Make conversation by suggesting topics and asking questions but don’t try to take over the whole conversation and control what you’re talking about. People will not respond well to this behaviour at a networking event.
Tip 5: Follow Up
This may arguably be the most important tip if you have a goal to achieve from your networking. Whether it is to make business connections, find a potential new employer or a new supplier, the most important thing is to follow up after the event.
Your conversation should not start and end at the event, take the contact details of the attendees and drop them an email or even a phone call to acknowledge your conversation with them and give them a reason to contact you again.
Social networks can be a great tool for following up on networking, especially LinkedIn. Try to get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show interest.