When’s the last time you said, or heard someone say “Well, I went along but I didn’t get anything from it” about a networking event. When is the last time someone at a networking event told you all about themselves, and didn’t ask about you?
Do you feel confident to network? Sometimes the most confident of people can feel a little wary of walking up to strangers to join a conversation, so here are some top tips.
- If you really don’t feel comfortable walking up to people you don’t know, don’t! The number one rule here is to do what feels right for you. So position yourself so people can come to you – a good place may be near the coffee machine!
- But remember, the more times you do something the easier it gets, so try something new, and keep practising, and you’ll find it will get easier – as with walking up to people – if you’re nervous, that’s OK. It’s possible that the nerves will fade as you do it and find it’s not as scary as it seems. A good read for this type of practice is Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feel-Fear-Anyway-Indecision-Confidence/dp/0091907071
- Try networking events that are educational, with speakers. You have far less time to approach people and are seated next to people, making those initial intro’s less intimidating.
- Think “get to know people” rather than “get business cards”. It’s far more useful to make one really good connection, than collect a few business cards without really getting to know the contacts.
- Aim to help the people you speak with. Generally people can be uncomfortable if put into a “selling” situation, so remember that you’re there to help people, and then the whole scenario is a lot more enjoyable. Walk into the room, and aim to help at least 3 people that you meet. This will be returned tenfold and is a great way to be remembered and build your brand.
- You don’t always have to talk about work! Find out about people, talk about things you’re passionate about. Values cross every area of our lives, not just business, and it’s the values that show who you are and will help you build trust.
- Never, ever, discount anyone you meet. It’s not necessarily who you meet, it’s who they know. So always treat everyone as you wish to be treated. That’s a golden rule.
- Enjoy yourself! Make it pleasurable and fun by choosing it to be a happy experience. If you’re expecting it to be awful, it’s more likely to be so. If you expect it to be fun, you’ll be oozing positivity and people are going to want to speak with you.
And, lastly, always make sure you follow up! If you’d like more information about how to follow up or anything else sales related, please get in touch on 0121 347 6601.