Running a fruitful and profiting business goes hand in hand with networking successfully. The issue is not with how we actually network (or how we do not, in this case) but how uncomfortable we are when we walk into a room with a bunch of strangers. That is our most prominent downfall. When we are unable to act, speak, or present correctly and efficiently due to stress or anxiety marks the beginning of the end of our business.
The main issue that entails this is one of comfort. The overwhelming majority of people are not automatically comfortable with walking into a room with a group of people and presenting in front of them. With that having been said, let us go over some of the best practices, including tips, that you can make use of when it comes to business networking events.
- Do Not, And I Repeat, Do Not Arrive Late
This one is so obvious and evident that people who do not even network know this one; it’s so simple it is basically counter-intuitive! Is it not better to stand around and wait for an extra hour or two, or even as little as fifteen minutes extra, than being late for your event (in just about any case, not just necessarily networking events) than to arrive late, discouraged and underprepared?
You can make use of coming early, too. The beginning and end of networking events, especially the beginning, is always slow and somewhat unpopulated. It is incredibly easy to find groups of people, or random folks, that are not caught up in a conversation and are looking for one. It is not as easy to break into a preexisting conversation as it is to start a new one.
- Ask Simple Questions (To Start A Conversation)
Never be that one guy who waits around in the corners of the room, anxiously hoping that there is a chance somebody will walk up to them and start a conversation! If you see a nearby group in a half-moon shape, feel free to walk up to them and say something (ideas?) along the lines of ‘May I join you lot?’ or maybe ‘So, what brings you to this event?’ This last one is a significant conversation starter, especially if it is one person standing somewhere alone.
Also, reciprocation plays a major role in curating a useful and ‘profitable’ conversation; make sure that you listen to their replies, base your next statements or questions off of said responses, and maintain steady eye contact. To add to this, make sure that you are showing, subconsciously or not, respectful body language.
An example of this is where you place your body, head, and feet. Not only will you be not taken seriously, but nobody will want to take you seriously if you face away from them with your head and face towards them! It is inexcusable and is, to be honest, kind of weird, so don’t do it.
- Just, Please, Ditch The Sales Pitch
First impressions are important when it comes to getting to know people. At business networking events, such as the ones that you attend (or plan on attending) first impressions matter a lot. They are basically the deciding factor that chooses if you gain them as a friend or business partner, or if you alienate them immediately.
Therefore, when considering how to approach someone at a networking event, try to lay off your pitch a little bit. Exchange pleasant, fun, interesting nuggets of knowledge about your sale, instead of forcing it down their throats within a few minutes of meeting the person. People are far more likely to conduct business with someone when they enjoy their company, versus when they do not.
If you introduce as someone who is kind, pleasant, funny, and overall a joy to be around, you will subconsciously end up raking in customers. However, if you are too frank and straightforward and make it clear to them, whether directly or indirectly, that you only want their money, then you will get nowhere during said event.
Check out what Stanford University has to say about networking;