Networking events are a great way to meet new people in a short period of time. When you attend an event, are you energized or full of anxiety when you walk in the room? Being able to go up and introduce yourself to people you don’t know can be a struggle when you don’t know what to say. Here are some best practices that you can leverage.
What is the first thing you do when you meet someone? Do you talk about your title or what you actually do? Although a title may be the same, the responsibilities can be very different depending on how that company is set up. It is much better to talk about what you are responsible for in a short 30 second elevator speech. This will give the person the context to understand what you do regardless of your title.
The best conversations from the other person’s perspective happen when you listen to them and ask them questions about what they do and what is important to them. Be an active listener, pay attention to the words that they use and ask them clarifying questions. The questions that you ask them are most likely the same ones that they will turn around and ask you. This gives you the chance to share your stories and what you want people to learn about you. This article gives you some great examples of questions that you can use at the next event you attend: 5 Powerful Questions to Ask at a Networking Event
How many times have you connected with people at an event and then you don’t follow up afterwards? Unfortunately, this happens way too often and then you have lost the connection. Minimally, you can connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a quick note that same day. Depending on the connection and how often you want to meet, you can set a reminder on your calendar. Capture the details of the conversations so you can remember that information when you follow up. Some people may use a Customer Relationship Management tool to track this information, but you can just as easily use an excel spreadsheet.
The anxiety of networking may not fully go away, but the more you do it, the easier it will become for you. Yesterday’s post focused on putting together a plan before you attend a networking event. Now you have ideas on how to be prepared for the conversations. Completing your plan, reviewing the questions and preparing stories to share will help you feel more confident which will allow you to project that confidence to the new people that you are meeting.
I have created a free resource if you are looking for ideas on how to self-promote and get more visibility. You can download it for free from this link: http://susanmbarber.com/visibility-for-leaders/