Friday, October 12, 2012

Tips For Success At The Networking Event

You have prepared and planned for your networking event with almost military precision. You have arrived in plenty of time; you are relaxed and mentally prepared. Now what do you do? Do you rush in and hand out business cards to anyone who will take them? No! Don't do that. Here instead are nine great tips that will help you maximize your networking enjoyment and potential success.

1 - Meet your pre-arranged contacts

After you have been greeted by the event host, and if you previously arranged to meet with a sponsor or business colleague, make sure that you seek them out as promised. Do not spend all your time talking to the people you know well. Save this for another day. After all, everyone is really there to meet new people.
2 - Get introduced to others

Use the host or people you already know to introduce you to others that you may want to meet. This method gets rid of the sometimes awkward ice-breaking stage.

3 - Be the introducer

This is a great way to feel confident. Introducing people demonstrates your confidence and social grace. Pay particular attention to people who seem lost, shy or simply isolated. They will love the chance to be introduced to someone so after talking a little with them yourself, find out who they want to meet and then make the introduction. You will feel really good about this simple act.

4 - Refreshments and snacks

These can be a nightmare. If the event has a sit-down meal element that is fine and you can eat and talk as you would in any other dining situation. If the refreshments and snacks are intended to be eaten whilst mingling then I would suggest that you stick to soft drinks only. Even handling a cup and saucer with coffee or tea can be tricky when you are expected to shake hands or kiss cheeks. Don't even get me started about people spraying crumbs of food when they talk or getting food in their teeth - leave the snacks for later.

5 - Be careful with your promises

This may sound counter-intuitive but don't just give your cards out to everyone you meet. Only swap contact details with people you feel it is worth keeping in contact with. It is unfair and a waste of everyone's time to give the impression you want to connect with people you really don't want to connect with. If you promise to call someone or follow-up with some more information, then you had better make sure you do it. Make a to-do list and stick to it. This will help you protect your hard-earned credibility.

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