Seminars, workshops and conferences are a great opportunity to learn from expert speakers in your industry. They are also an excellent chance to network within your peer group.
Successful networking at events involves showing confidence, poise, ambition, inquisitiveness, and a commitment to share. Let’s look at each of these traits and how to cultivate them.
People actively engage with those who exude confidence and positivity, but they steer clear of those hiding away in the corner with a chip on their shoulder. Practice your networking introduction (“infomercial” or elevator speech) so you can deliver it smoothly and adapt it according to the specific audience.
Of course it’s possible to be over-confident, and you definitely want to avoid that. If you have an ego, keep it under wraps so you don’t appear boastful.
When you handle yourself with poise it shows others that you are calm and comfortable, and helps them to also feel more at ease. Smile and look people in the eye, and give a proper handshake.
Dress well in clean, tidy clothes that are appropriate for the occasion. Stand tall – never slump. Above all, have a positive attitude and exude that in how you present yourself.
People like to engage in conversation with ambitious, eloquent and smart networkers. Openly display your enthusiasm at meeting new people, along with showing excitement for your profession.
Before you arrive, be clear about your goals, skills and strengths so you’ll be able to articulate them in detail. You never know which interactions could trigger a lead to another company or future potential employer.
Aim to ask thought-provoking and probing questions that will engage people in conversation and get them thinking. It can help you uncover new topics to advance your lead generation or how you can help the other person.
Commitment to share
Helping the other person is the primary object of networking. You always want to share and give before you receive, whether leads, ideas or other resources. What goes around always comes around.
Be tactful and diplomatic, not pushy or forceful. Wait for an appropriate time to hand out your business card, which is definitely not in the first few minutes of meeting someone!
In any networking conversation, you are the representative of your company, whether you’re an entrepreneur, in career transition and building your personal brand, or gainfully employed.
In that brief time, the other person is forming an opinion that could make or break a career opportunity now or in the future. Use these five elements to make the best possible impression.