We all know that networking is truly an artform and at times can be intimidating and stressful if not executed properly. Here are seven tips that will help you smoothly navigate through any room.
1. Quality over Quantity
Don't try to talk to everyone, pick a few people to talk to and build a real relationship with them. Many times we believe that the more people we talk to increases our chances of getting a referral. That's couldn't be any further from the truth. Make an effort to choose a few people and take the time to build a real relationship with them.
2. Never interrupt someone.
No one likes to be cut off or interrupted when they are speaking. Make sure you hear someone out first before you begin speaking. This can be the ultimate diss to someone, you are basically saying that what they are talking about is irrelevant.
3. Find out what people's passions are.
Instead of asking someone what they do, ask them what are their passions. People love to talk about themselves and what motivates them. This simple question will provide you with the information you need to truly help that person, and help build a true business friendship.
4. Stay away from "The Salesperson".
At every networking event there's always that "salesperson". You know, they just want you to join their team or buy their product. This individual is not concerned about having a conversation, they just want to sell you on what they do. Getting corner by this person can be a real energy drainer.
5. Listen first, speak later.
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and we should use them in that order. Don't get overly enthusiastic about telling someone about what you do. It's always better to ask questions and learn about someone.
6. Have fun, don't network.
It's important to not take yourself too seriously. Make sure that you laugh and stay loose. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed the people you talk to will be. An awkward conversation gets nowhere, keep it light and have fun.
7. Follow up
Make sure you lock in all contacts to linkedin, Facebook, etc and follow up with the people you met. Keep the connections alive and build that relationship over time.