Whether you want to further your career or grow your business networking is an essential tool for you to use and develop. Some of us are introverts and shy away from the idea of networking but there are ways to approach this activity.
A few things to keep in mind when it comes to Networking-
- It doesn’t have to be about selling yourself, it’s about being present for an opportunity
- Networking grows your brand; grow your business and your intellect…
Prep before going to the networking event; dress style should be business casual unless the event states otherwise, lay off the heavy cologne. You need your business cards; if you have any business logo items that you can distribute bring them!
Have your introduction ready-
- Who are you?
- Who do you represent?
- What do you do?
- What brought you here tonight?
The idea is to capture the attention of your audience within the first few seconds you meet them. Its a great idea to read the news of day to have something to talk about, be able to relate to your audience. Stay away from politics if you can.
Be genuinely interested in what people are saying, ask questions, and take mental notes of body language. Be a good listener. I have been in a few situations where I felt almost held hostage by someone and their flurry of questions. If at any time you feel that you have lost control of the conversation or you feel uncomfortable with whomever you are speaking with, politely excuse yourself.
If you meet potential clients, make sure to note their contacts, make a note to yourself of the conversation you had and follow up the next day. Stay relevant, remember that they met other people that day and you could get lost in the shuffle.