Arriving early will be far more advantageous to you than arriving late. By arriving early you will have time to get a coffee, and chat more candidly to other people who arrive early. In this “pre networking state” you will find people are more themselves and easier to talk to one to one.
2. Ask easy questions.
Make it easy for people to talk to you by asking simple opening questions such as “may I join you” or, “what brings you to this event”. Remember you have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that ratio so make sure you listen to people’s answers and opinions. This is important when building a rapport with people. Being a good listener is an excellent way to get to know a person.
3. Ditch the sales pitch.
The aim of networking is to build a relationship and the best way to do that is making friends. You don’t need to hard sell your products and services all you need to do is make an effort to get to know the other person. If something comes up which is mutually beneficial run with it. If someone does ask you about your services, have the knowledge ready, and give information about past success.
4. Share your passion.
People like people like themselves. If you meet other business owners the chances are they have a passion for what they do and have a reason for getting into their industry. Ask people about this, and be ready to share the same experiences you had starting up with them. Talking about what you enjoy is contagious, and you can win people over by leaving a lasting impression by showing your enthusiasm for what you do.
It’s easier to talk to people when they are smiling. Also if you are nervous it won’t show as much through those gleaming pearly whites. Smiling makes you come across as warm and inviting. Look like you want to be there and you are genuinely having a good time. If you really don’t want to be there either leave the negative attitude at the door or leave.
6. Don’t hijack the conversation.
You may find yourself talking nonstop and not giving other people the opportunity to speak. If this occurs, stop and think about what you are doing. Look people in the eye, remember their name, listen to what they have to say and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. You want to be good at conversation as opposed to being a good talker. Make people feel special, and make them feel like you enjoy talking to them and that you want to be there.
7. Remember to follow up.
So you have carried out all of the above swimmingly and started the beginnings of what could be a lucrative and mutually beneficial business relationship. Stay in touch, remember to exchange business cards and do your best to keep up to date with the people you meet. Even if you find that the person no longer requires your services, if you got on well and they like you as a person there is more chance of them recommending you to other people. Be good to the people you meet and they will be good to you.