Networking is more than first impressions. It's about establishing long-term connections with other entrepreneurs. But how do you ensure that you stick in people's minds long after the event? Learn how to work the room like a pro at networking events by following these tips!
1. Know Who Will be There
Take your networking skills to the next level by doing your research in advance! Know who will be there and where the event is taking place by having a copy of the host organization's membership roster beforehand. This will help you know who might attend and learn about their backgrounds and interests. You can contact the hosts of the event for attendee information. Being prepared in this way gives you an edge when it comes time to start building relationships and making connections with other entrepreneurs at the event.
2. Focus on Learning
Your conversational skills will suffer if you are always thinking about what to say next or are anxious about the other person's opinion of you. So, focus most on what you can learn about the other person instead. Let the other person take the lead if it's a potentially important connection, but keep an eye out for openings to talk about yourself and what you're hoping to accomplish. If you view networking less as a test of your social skills and more as a chance to learn more about others, you'll have a much more positive experience.
3. Consider Approaching Pairs of People.
If you see a pair at a networking event, approach them and introduce yourself. Approaching a pair can be less frightening because they likely already know each other or have just met and would appreciate someone else's contribution to the conversation. In addition, this allows for a more natural flow of conversation that would not be possible in a larger gathering.
4. Feel Free to Move On
Whenever at a large gathering, make it a rule not to talk to any one person longer than three minutes at a time. That's enough time to introduce yourself, ask questions, and gauge interest. It's also brief enough for the conversation to remain light. To move on, think of something you need to do, be it a quick hello to a friend or a refill of your drink at the bar. Networking is all about making connections when you work a room like a pro. It's not rude if you don't return unless you specifically said so.
5. Show Genuine Interest
Focus on the person you're talking to (rather than looking elsewhere), smile frequently, and show genuine amusement at their jokes. Follow-up questions are another fantastic technique to demonstrate interest. Don't immediately respond with, "That's terrific!" or "Lucky you!" if someone says they've recently returned from a trip to the Maldives, for example. Get to know where they stayed, their activities, and the trip's highlights.
Considering the tips above, if you want to work a room like a pro at networking events. Plus, consider wearing our signature branded networking apparel with 'Ask Me What I Do.' It's another great way to start a conversation with someone new. Visit today!