Networking can be nerve-racking, especially if you’re born shy and awkward. Sometimes, it can also be utterly boring if you don’t know how to meet with strangers at old-fashioned events. Unfortunately, you need to network to meet people who can expand your business or help you get that dream job,
Here are simple ways to network effectively.
- Start A Conversation
When meeting someone new, introduce yourself. Tell them your name, affiliations, and other basic information about you. Remember, making conversations is a two-way street so don’t forget to ask them questions in return.
Once you’re done with the basic introduction, ask your new acquaintance about their business. Ask them about the products or service they offer, their clients, and their competitive edge.
- Be Calm And Professional
When attending an event, make sure that you put your best foot forward. Arrive early and eat beforehand. Your purpose is to meet people and not eat during the entire event. It’s difficult to make a meaningful conversation with your mouth full.
Try to mention the name of the person thrice in conversation so you’ll remember his or her name more effectively. Most importantly, watch your body language. Keep eye contact, stand up straight, and don’t cross your arms.
- Filter Your Contacts
With several hundreds of people in your niche, there’s no way that you can network with each one of them. That’s why you need to evaluate your contacts and only choose those that you think can help your business. Look for someone that has the same traits as you.
Another way of filtering your contacts is to choose those people who you knew in the past. He or she could be your high school or college friend decades ago. With one introduction away, you can forge a formidable business relationship.
- Offer A Helping Hand
The best way to connect with someone is to help that person in need. Find out the current concerns and desires of your contact. There might be something that you can do to help them resolve his or her dilemma.
So how do you know their concerns and desires? Research them. Look at their social media posts and read their recent interviews.
For example, you meet a CEO that has a family member suffering from a certain disease. To make a good impression, suggest some useful tips and articles to the CEO.
- Keep In Touch
Making friends in the event doesn’t end there. You need to keep regular contact to maintain the relationship. After the event, send a request on their LinkedIn right away. Send them a very brief note about how nice it was to meet them.
Don’t add them to your social media accounts unless you talked about it clearly during the event. If you need a follow-up on something that you talked about, use email to be more personal.
Now, You’re Ready To Network Like A Pro
Networking isn’t really that hard if you have a plan. Do your research and be polite when talking. Once you’ve made friends during an event, keep in touch to forge a good relationship.