There are people who are natural born networkers - those people that can make conversation in any situation and have no problem walking up to complete strangers. This article is for the rest of us - networking tips that help reduce the stress of attending a networking event and will have you walking away from the event with prospects.
Look into and attend local networking events. Of course it isn't enough to just attend the event you must actually actively participate and "network".
Here are some tips on making your networking event a success:
?Show your interest by making eye contact when meeting new people.
?Smile ? A friendly face is inviting.
?Don't be afraid to approach people you don't know. Extend a handshake and say "Hello, I don't think we have met."
?Don't spend the evening, talking with people you already know and don't attend the event with a "friend." You will less likely to strike up conversations with strangers if you can stay "safe" with your friend.
?Focus on the person you are meeting. Ask what they do ? be genuinely curious about their business.
?Listen - be attentive and interested in the other person.
?Be ready and Know what you do. Rehearse your 30 second answer before hand but make sure you don't sound like a pre-recorded message.
?Set goals before you go. For example: Set number of contacts you would like to make. If you can get a guest list prior to attending, know who you want to meet.
?Look your best. Dress appropriately for the event and make sure you are neat, clean and have fresh breath. (If there are refreshments available avoid garlic and onions)
?Ask for a business card. Make sure you get the information you need to make further contact. A good trick is to wear something with good pockets. Keep business cards collected in one pocket and your business cards to hand out in another. This will save you from having to shuffle through your cards.
?Be prepared with dead air questions in case there are pauses in the conversation. "How long have you belonged to this organization?" "What are these events usually like?" "How can I help promote your business?" "Can I refer clients to you?"
?Take a spot near the entry door. Greet attendees as they arrive and welcome them to the event. After learning about the attendees you will be in the position to make introductions around the room. Make yourself the unofficial host and everyone will remember you the next day!
?The most important tip is to FOLLOW -Up with everyone you meet at the event. Send off a personalized note or make a phone call to invite good prospects for a coffee.
? 2004-2005 Tanya Beaudoin o/a Office on Demand, All rights reserved. You are free to use this article in its entirety, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify Mrs. Beaudoin as to where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "Tanya Beaudoin, B.A. is a virtual assistant who specializes in e-solutions (including graphic and and web site design) and administrative support for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Please visit Tanya's web site at http://www.officeondemand.ca for additional business related articles"