A couple of months ago, I blogged about a great book called, “Networking for People who Hate Networking” by Devora Zack. I wanted to build on the items I discussed before and present some more useful networking tips. The three main ideas I wrote about include:
- “Pause” – Allowing plenty of time before an event to review strategies for effectively communicating a message, and think through responses to questions ahead of time. Be prepared prior to a networking situation.
- “Process” – Ask open ended questions and observe verbal and non-verbal ques in order to develop a deeper, more lasting relationship, which can help produce meaningful leads.
- “Pace” – Allow enough time between events to recharge in order to maximize networking effectiveness.
So here are some more tips based on the broader categories listed above:
- Preregister for the event. The more planning that can be done upfront, the less stress involved with attending the event. It may even make sense to plan what you will wear ahead of time. That way you can spend your energy concentrating on the networking and you will be less likely to make excuses and back out once you have made that commitment.
- Arrive early. This will give you an opportunity to scan the name tag table to determine who you would like to meet; it will also give you an opportunity to determine what you might have in common with this person. Also, it is a lot easier to initiate conversation with someone when there are few people in the room, than to arrive late and everyone is already engaged in conversation.
- Linger by the buffet table or coffee line, which offers opportunities to engage in conversation such as “I wonder what they’re serving today. That looks good!”
- Scan the crowd. Look for someone who is approachable, and may not be engaged in conversation.
- Show interest in others by asking them what they do. Let them talk about themselves.
- Take breaks to recharge. Plan it ahead of time. Remember, introverts do not feed on others energy and need downtime to recharge.
- Follow up with a personal note. Try and include specific topics you discussed, and if you have any pertinent information to share that pertains to their line of work, include that as well. They will appreciate it and you will stick out more among the many other people they met that day.
- Ditch the “Golden Rule”. Do not treat others as you would want to be treated. For example, when an extrovert tries to include an introvert in a conversation, the introvert may feel pressured. Instead, treat others as they want to be treated. This will require making an effort to know the other person’s nature and communication preferences.
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