You love it. You hate it. You network. Whether it’s a professional happy hour or a breakfast shindig, networking opportunities are everywhere. Instead of awkwardly standing in a corner looking at strangers, there are ways to make the most of these events and…actually enjoy them.
Writer Andrew Griffiths, founding mentor in the global entrepreneurial program Key Person of Influence, put together a list of 21 tips for your next networking event. Here are just a few to get you started.
Do your homework. Make sure there are possible clients for you that will be attending. This way you can network with a purpose. Once you have decided this is a good event for you to attend, don’t arrive too early. Eliminate that awkward time by getting there when the room is full and you can control who you are connecting with.
Try to forget your discomfort and smile. Smiling can make you more approachable. Once someone does start a conversation with you, it’s good to have questions mentally prepared. Try to ask open-ended questions that can make a conversation more informative and memorable than the usual small talk. Pick groups, not people. It’s easier to walk up to a group of people to introduce yourself. Once you’ve made a connection, enlist them to introduce you to more people. While you are talking to someone, give them your business card and say their name 1 – 3 times. This extra interaction gives you a better chance of remembering them, and being remembered.
Keep in mind, networking events can be fun and successful if you go prepared. Enjoy yourself and have a goal in mind.
Be sure to check out https://www.inc.com/andrew-griffiths/21-tips-to-help-you-overcome-that-awkward-feeling-at-your-next-networking-event.html for additional tips.
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