Going to a networking event is a bit like going to a first date. You think too much about the clothes you’re going to wear, you rehearse what you’re going to say and you worry about the awkward silences and the sweaty hands.
The good news is that the first encounters like these can be practiced and will become simpler over time. With a little practice, you will soon engage with people and make quality contacts.
- Basic rules
It’s pretty clear, but it never hurts to remember: smile, be accessible and friendly, but without sharing too much information. Ask questions (open), listen carefully, show a genuine interest and impress by asking complementary questions.
- The early morning networker gets the contacts
Arriving elegantly late is usually what’s good, but not when it comes to creating networks of contacts: arriving soon has the advantage that there will be fewer people and you will not have to interrupt anyone to start a conversation, networkers usually have time and more than enough energy to talk to each other.
- Create a plan
Few people consider networking as their favorite activity, so set a goal: talk to 10 people or spend an hour at the event. Then, reward yourself, and raise the bet next time.
- Have business cards
The business cards are the currency of the networking events, have them and trade with them. If you want to go further, make business cards with a unique color or shape, or with an ingenious content. However, do not be funny just for fun, or people could use them to take notes.
- Take note (see what we did there)
We like people who pay attention to what we are saying. A simple trick to remember details, stories and anecdotes is to take some notes after you separate from the person with whom you want to have a later contact, hobbies or passions are perfect to break the ice.
- Follow up
In some appointments the rule of three days is followed, the networkers have to follow the one-day rule: follow up within 24 hours (48 max.). Email messages are a quick way to do it, you can be very good by referring to a story, article or anecdote of which you have spoken (one that you have written down).
7. Be personal
Trying to get the attention of someone with an email can be complicated, sometimes it is easier to meet in person. After an initial contact, suggest going for coffee or a meal (business), you just have to make sure that the meeting has a purpose. After all, time is money.
8. The magic of social networks
Social networks are your best friends to create contacts: look at the photos to remember the faces and see their personal websites or portfolios to investigate further.
9. Be patient
Creating a consistent contact network is based on giving and receiving. It’s not just about you and the next step in your career, it’s a kind of chain of favors. These favors range from introductions to assistance in any of their business deals.
10. Feed your contact network.
You have had superficial talks, you have compiled an impressive pile of business cards and have made some contacts online. You may even have booked for a coffee. In theory, you could rest on your laurels, right? No. Work has just begun. Now you have to feed the network, get in touch with them, send Christmas cards and make sure they do not forget you, you never know when you will need them.