Use these Best Practices to Succeed at a Live Networking Event
Effective networking leads to new relationships, business prospects, reputation building and career advancement. Most people feel anxious when they have to meet new people. These best practices will help you to let go of anxiety and become a successful networker:
Speak to at Least 5 New People
Networking is about making connections. Going to a networking event and standing in a corner will most likely not get you any new contacts. Make a commitment to speak to at least 5 new people at the event.
When speaking to new people, break the ice with an interesting comment. This takes practice, however, if you are a beginner networker all you have to do is speak less about yourself and show more interest in the other person.
Furthermore, you can introduce the new contact to somebody else. This will make you more relevant at the event.
Familiarise Yourself with Current Affairs
In order to remain relevant among a group of people, keep yourself updated on current affairs up to the hour before the event. This will give you more confidence to speak to strangers at the event.
Smile and Relax
Networking is not a selling event. You are not there to sell your brand; you are there to build relationships. Smile at the event and make sure that you look relaxed.
Have a Pack of Your Business Cards Ready
You should have your business cards ready in case somebody wants to get in touch with you later. The worst thing is trying to write somebody’s number on a piece of paper, as loose papers get lost. Your business card should clearly show your name, business and contact information.
Do Not Discuss Sensitive Topics
Remain neutral at all times. Topics such as religion or politics should never be discussed, even if somebody else starts the discussion. Learn to remain neutral when sensitive topics are being discussed.
Prepare a 15 Second Introduction
Although networking is not a selling event you will be asked about your occupation. You might know what you do, but you might not be good at articulating it to other people. That’s where practice comes in.
Your answer should not be forced. It should be a 15 second smooth introduction of your name, company and industry.
Life is about who you know; therefore name dropping is a good networking strategy as it makes you more relevant. Be careful to do it tastefully as you do not want to appear like an obnoxious person. The key to name dropping is taking the attention off yourself and putting it on the other person. For example “Mr x once said that …….” instead of “I have met Mr x before and he said….”