Networking can be an intimidating process, especially for those of us that are on the shy side, but can be necessary in getting your name or business out to the world. While each encounter is different, there are some basic guidelines you should follow when drumming up conversation at a networking event or meetup.
Check out some of our tips below and start getting your name out there!
- Don’t push your business card: How many business cards from others do you have on your desk or in your wallet? How many of them did you ask for? Having business cards at events is a good thing, but refrain from pushing it on every person you meet. Instead, ask for theirs, and if they are interested in pursuing further communication, they will most likely ask for yours, as well.
- Quantity not quality: When you’re at a networking event, it can be tempting to try and meet and greet with everyone there, but how much are you really accomplishing if you’re jumping from person to person without making any meaningful connections? Instead, spend your time and effort on a smaller number of people, people who you enjoy, connect with, and can benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise.
- Exude confidence: Now, this doesn’t mean you should be arrogant or a know-it-all, but you should be confident in your talks and meetings. People are attracted to confidence and they get more excited when the person discussing an idea is confident. Don’t overpower a conversation, but in that same breath, being timid and shy will make you forgettable.
- Refrain from interrupting: Yes, you’re excited and want everyone to know about your great idea or business, but don’t let that excitement make you the “annoying one” at a networking meetup. If you’re in a one-on-one conversation, sometimes listening more and talking less can get more done than overpowering the conversation. You can still be confident without taking over a conversation, and when you do speak, people will listen.
- Follow up: Let me repeat, follow up. Did you have a good conversation with someone and exchanged business cards? Don’t forget to get in touch with that person again. Maybe not the day after, but in the following weeks, getting in touch with those you made a connection with end in a great success for both parties. Having a hard time keeping up with who to follow up with? Use a calendar or productivity app to remind yourself to get back in touch with that person.
Use these tips to go into your networking event or business meetup to start networking with the best of them. Obviously, every interaction is different and being able to pivot is the sign of a great networker, but these should be considered the building blocks on which you’ll create and nurture your own style of networking.