Networking is the key to success in business
I recently attended an event and was inspired by Claire Brummell from Feminine 1st when she spoke about networking. Her presentation reminded me that for some people networking is second nature but for others it’s hard work, tedious and nerve racking. Both parties, however, recognise that networking is the key to success in business. So how can you enjoy it and master it if you’re feeling overwhelmed when attending an event?
1. Look approachable and smile
This is such a simple, basic rule, yet so many people don’t even think to do it. I’m not going to give you a hard time, for if you’re anxious it’s probably the last thing on your mind. However, in order to succeed at networking you need to overcome this and look approachable. No one warms to a scowling, serious face. A smile, on the other hand is incredibly welcoming.
2. Use body language and mirroring
Let’s be honest here, joining a group can be awkward even for the pros. One of the best ways to do this is by quietly approaching the group and standing on the peripherals. I wouldn’t recommend introducing yourself immediately unless asked to. Rather, I would suggest listening attentively and mirroring the group’s body language. What you’ll find is that soon enough the group will open up and invite you in to participate.
3. Use the event facilities as your aid
Coffee and tea areas are a perfect place for striking up conversations, and mundane conversations are usually good to get a dialogue going. Once you’ve struck up a rapport you can then ask more pertinent questions, for example, why are they at the event, what do they hope to get out of it, what do they do etc.?
4. Ask for an introduction
Asking someone else to make an introduction is probably the easiest way to network and I’d thoroughly recommend it. Let someone else do the legwork! Obviously if you’re at a large event then this probably isn’t practical, but for smaller events it is.
5. Ask interesting questions and be interested
Asking interesting questions is one of the fastest ways to build not only your credibility but also rapport. Furthermore, it’s a lot easier than bargaining with an opinion.
Most people love to talk about themselves. If you can get people to discuss their experiences and opinions and listen with genuine interest, giving them your full focus and attention you will build immediate rapport and trust. Be authentic, share your passions and help other people feel good about themselves.
6. Be generous and helpful
It’s incredibly refreshing to have someone offer to make an introduction or connection or share some useful information at an event. Remember, if you do this; follow up, as you’ll be seen as an action taker, dependable and a person of their word.
In the comments below, tell me how you get on with networking and what methods or techniques you use. Let me know what action you’ll take as a result of watching this video and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.
Thank you, as always for reading, watching and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude,