Networking tips: 6 tips for successful networking
Networking, especially if you are new to it, can be a daunting concept. Speaking to strangers while trying to pitch a product, service or yourself can feel unnatural and, frankly, scary! However, networking is one of the most effective ways to engage new clients, increase engagement and awareness of a brand, and grow as a business. Here are 6 tips for successful networking at corporate events.
Always carry your business cards
These should include all relevant details including your job title and how to contact you. A photo on the business card makes it easier to call a person to mind if you want to contact them later.
Get outside of the office
You will not build a network by sitting in your office and making phone calls. You have to be physically present at receptions, conferences, trade fairs, networking meetings, courses, etc. Even in the digital world of today, the best networking happens in the field.
Have a positive mindset
The idea that networking is boring, anxiety-inducing and filled with failure needs to be transformed into something positive: you will meet new people who will be able to contribute one way or another to your life and your business. A good network represents power and influence and just one introduction to the right person can make all the difference in the world.
Present success through body language
Much of how we perceive others comes from non-verbal communication or body language. In a networking setting, your posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements can, in fact, communicate more than your words do.
Here are three ways to confidently communicate through body language while networking:
- Make eye contact – This can be a difficult thing for some of us but making eye contact with the person you are communicating with, both while you are talking and even more so while they are speaking, can build trust and make the other person feel comfortable and heard.
- Lean forward- Leaning towards the speaker conveys the message that you are interested and invested in what they are communicating.
- Smile- You have likely heard the expression ‘smiling is contagious’ and, when it comes to communication, smiling communicates that you are genuine, warm and approachable.
These are only a few ways in which your body language communicates your message, learn more with our eBook Conscious Body Language.
Communicate actively and effectively
Move around the room making eye contact, and introducing yourself. It is good practice to prepare a few opening small-talk questions such as ‘What brings you here today?’ ‘Can you tell me about your company?’ or ‘What do you do?’ Actively listen and use follow-up questions to keep the conversation flowing as well as seeking out common interests and opinions.
Master the important communication skill of active listening with our eBook What is Active listening?
Make follow–up plans
Upon having a successful conversation, remember to close by handing over your card and making an arrangement about when you will be in contact again. If you do not arrange a contact, then phone or e-mail no later than the following week. In such a situation, offer something concrete – a meeting, lunch, or an offer. This makes it easier to phone, and easier for the other party to relate to the contact.