It's true that it can be a fantastic forum to meet new people, potential clients and make connections. However, to many people, the word “Networking” can be very intimidating. We get it. And to tell you the truth, we often get intimidated too. Here are some awesome tips that we’ve learned; these can be applied in most social situations so take note!
Rule #1 – Stay calm and carry on. Listen ladies – there is really nothing to get upset about. You are just entering a room full of potential new allies. The majority of people you meet will be stoked just to know you – sounds cheesy, but it really is true. You're excited to meet them too, right?
Rule #2 – Be the first to say hello. Approachability is key. Be friendly when you walk into a room. Smile and don’t hesitate to say hello to people. Challenge yourself to make the first approach, say hello. Repeat this statement when you make eye contact with another, “Hi there! My name is _______________.” then shake their hand. After they tell you their name, you simply ask them what they do. Voila! It's really that easy.
Rule #3 – May I help you? How many times have you walked into an event and had someone shove a business card in your face, trying to sell you the product that they are sure you can’t live without? Don’t be that chick. Approach networking events as an opportunity to help someone else. Ask questions, take interest and offer assistance. It will amaze you how often this approach will turn into a lead or connection for you.
Rule #4 – Be present. Be engaged with the person you are speaking to. Make good eye contact and take a genuine interest in whomever you speak with. Take a quick inventory of the conversation, if you've been talking the whole time and don't know what the other person does, immediately shut the front door and ask. Politely excuse yourself after you have wrapped up a conversation if you notice someone else you’d like to chat with.
Rule # 5 – Follow up. Follow up is key. You can’t expect to attend one event and have people knocking down your door to bring you business. Send emails the next day to those that you connected with. If you do not have an action item for the new contact, then simply say it was lovely to have met them. A hand written note in the mail is always a welcomed treat as well.
There you have it. Now get out there and make connections. You never know who the people you know (or meet), may know!
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