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Attending a networking meeting can be one of the most intimidating and daunting events. Suddenly your hands get sweaty right before you shake someone’s hand and your stomach turns before you get ready to speak. Trust me, you’re not alone but networking is an absolutely necessary skill. It can make all the difference in your start-up or existing business. There’s always new ways to improve.
Find below nine quick tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your network.
- Ask Yourself What Your Goals are in Participating in Networking Meetings. Set goals for yourself before the event whether it is speaking to the keynote speaker or prospecting for an angel investor. By doing this you can identify groups that will help you accomplish your goals.
- Resist The Urge to Arrive Late. The majority of business conferences and other networking events designate time for people to mingle. When you arrive early you are more likely to find people who don’t have a conversation partner yet and it’s less intimidating to approach one person than a group.
- Ask Open-ended Questions. Who, what, when, where, how and why allows the person to elaborate on their response. This avoids the simple yes or no answer and keeps the discussion going.
- Share Your Passion. Bring enthusiasm by sharing why you do what you do. It is easier for people to connect with your product or service and is often contagious. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a two-way memorable conversation.
- Connect The Dots. Find similar interests and activities with the person you are speaking to.
- Smile. Yes, it is simple but it makes you more approachable. You come across warm and inviting to others.
- Always Set a Way To Follow Up. This gives you a reason to email or call the person you met. Don’t forget to exchange business cards or add the person on LinkedIn.
- Remember to Follow Up Quickly and Efficiently. Within 24 to 48 hours send an email or call the person, the networking event will still be fresh on someone’s mind.
- Make Networking a Habit. Find local events in your area that pertain to your industry. Eventbrite is a great tool to find out where and when events take place near you. Make it a regular habit of reaching out to new people and connecting with them, get the most out of your network.
- Business Cards. Finally, make sure to bring lots of business cards to hand out and don’t forget to get their information as well!
Main Photo: Attendees networking at TechSquare Labs