5 Ways to Network Better at Events
Networking has always been important in business. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, nor does it matter how talented you are at providing your specific services. If you don’t know the right people, finding everyone from clients to vendors will be much more difficult.
That’s why it’s important to attend networking events, even if you spend your work days surrounded by other businesses at a coworking space. Of course, just being at an industry event isn’t enough. The following tips will help you leverage networking events to their full potential.
The impulse to speak more than you listen is common when networking. However, indulging that impulse is a good way to sabotage yourself. Your goal should be to forge positive relationships. That’s more likely to happen if the people with whom you network get the sense that you’re genuinely listening to them.
Not sure how to show you’re an active listener? Research how tactics such as listening with your whole body can help you send the right message.
Don’t Always Talk Business
Talking strictly about your industry is another mistake that’s easy to make when networking. Don’t fall into this trap. You’re actually more likely to develop strong relationships if you treat people like human beings. Asking questions about their lives and engaging with them on a personal level is at least as important as talking business.
Revealing personal information about yourself can help get the ball rolling. Experts point out that others are more likely to reveal information about themselves if you’re willing to do so first.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity
Networking events are often busy. They may seem to provide many opportunities to meet people who can help your business thrive.
Thus, you might believe it’s best to connect with as many people as possible during these events. This is a mistake. You could end up speaking with so many people that you forget the important details of various interactions. Focusing on quality over quantity boosts your odds of truly connecting with others.
Meeting someone at a networking event is just the first step in the process of developing a relationship. Once you’ve made the initial connection, you need to follow up with them after the event.
Be sure to include personal and/or specific details in your follow up email. This shows the person you’re contacting that you actually took the time to listen and get to know them.
Business owners frequently attend networking events with specific goals in mind. While it’s helpful to have a clear idea about how you want to use your time, it’s also beneficial to be open. There may be advantageous opportunities at networking events that you hadn’t considered. Be flexible, and you could develop unexpected relationships that yield major benefits.
Most importantly, of course, be genuine. You want to present your real self when networking. By following these tips and being true to who you are, you’ll use your time at these events as effectively as possible.
Guest post by Rae Steinbach, a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
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