I try to attend several diverse events and networking functions in order to meet different groups of people and build on my professional relationships. I thought I would share some of my networking tips with you in hopes they could help you make some lasting connections within your industry.
1. Give a Firm Shake | One thing I always do when I meet a new person is shake their hand! This is the old fashioned way of doing things and it works! Look them in the eye and give a firm solid shake. I shake a lot of hands so a good tip is to keep hand sanitizer in your car or purse.
2. Name Association | When you meet a lot of people sometimes it is difficult to remember their name, I suggest repeating their name out loud back to them saying something like, "It's lovely to meet you Christine!". After you repeat their name back to them, come up with a name association in your head to help you remember. For a name like Christine, you could say to yourself "Christine loves Christmas!". It sounds a little silly, but you don't have to tell the person their name association, it is just for you to help you remember - Try it out and see if it works!
3. Only Distribute When Asked | Do not hand out your business card unless you are asked for it. Some might think this is a weird tip since that is the point of networking but you do not want to seem to eager to give out your card. Guests might think you are just there to sell rather than to make meaningful connections. Therefore, I suggest being polite and waiting for them to ask before you give and eventually they will ask. This also ensures that you are not just wasting cards on guests that are not genuinely interested in you or your business.
4. Look At the Card | Often times at networking events there is an exchange of business cards. When someone hands you their business card, look at it before putting it away. This will help you remember the person you are meeting but it also shows that you are genuinely interested in what they offer. Later in the night you can always go back to that person and ask them a question about their business or service. They will be totally impressed you remembered something about them.
5. Engage | After the event is over and you are left with 5+ business cards in your possession, do not just throw them in a box in your office! If you do this, shame on you and you might as well have just stayed home. The point of attending events is to meet new people an make meaningful and lasting connections.
After the event send them an email saying it was great to meet them and thank them for taking the time to learn a little more about you. Engage with them and ask them what they are working on next or what's the next big thing for their business. This will show that you want to keep in touch and that you are interested in keeping the connection going beyond the event.
Building relationships is a key component to building any business and you would be surprised the difference it makes if you try these 5 simple tips and attend events to actually network, connect and engage.
Good luck and happy networking!
Have you tried any of these tips before and what were the results? Do you have any additional tips to include that have worked well for you?