Most business professionals encounter networking events at some point in their career. Sometimes they run smoothly and other times they’re just plain awkward.
Networking requires practice and is often time-consuming. Don’t give up, our ActionCOACH team is here to help you succeed!
The opportunities are there, but are you leveraging them?
It’s best to approach a networking event with a plan. By mapping out your objectives , you can assess the actions that need to take place. Are you looking for business partners? What about possible leads? Once you identify what you’re after, you can begin connecting the dots and plan conversations people you want to meet.
Identify which organizations, activities, conferences, and events your target contacts participate in and prioritize those opportunities. Put yourself in the right place at the right time, and it’ll be easier to form the right connections.
Let’s be truly honest for a moment here.
Do you enjoy someone sales pitch you when you’re trying to relax and socialize?
Fellow professionals can easily spot an agenda during a networking event. Instead, focus on authenticity and expand the conversation by expressing interest in the person. Ask about their industry and personal brand or interests. Learning more about them rather than selling, allows you to win over their respect and trust.
A conversation is a two-way street. As much as you’ll want to share information about what you do, you need to pace yourself. At a networking event, active listening is key.
Take a moment to step back, allowing your potential contact to open up about themselves. This will give you the opportunity to gain valuable insights into their company. Ask them about the business challenges they face, but be sure not to prod too much. They’ll remember your actions when next networking event.
Remember, first impressions last so don’t become that person everyone avoids!
Are you actively following up with potential contacts after events?
If you’re not, you could be missing out on relationship building opportunities.
Brad Sugars and our team recommend that you request a LinkedIn connection as soon as possible. The secret to fostering a relationship is remaining constant. Be sure to always personalize your communication. Those on LinkedIn receive quite a few requests to connect so make yourself memorable by standing out with a well thought out message regarding your first meeting.
Networking is all about the give and take. Even if your contact isn’t quite the person you were looking for, keep them in your pocket. You never know when that connection could be valuable.
Wikipedia defines this as “Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. Also known as the 6 Handshakes rule.”
By offering value and maintaining contact, you can transform a brief interaction into a long-lasting partnership.
So if connections are not ready to work with you just yet, don’t lose hope. Instead, work on nurturing this new lead. If and when the opportunity presents itself a strategic alliance can be formed that will be mutually beneficial to both parties involved.
I invite you to join me and other like-minded business owners on the journey towards business growth and success.
Yours in great business,