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I love networking events. I like to meet people, hear what they do and what they need.
In this blog I’ll tell you how I network with joy and successfully .
Some people do not like networking and cling to that one person who shows interest in them, or they stay with their colleague who has gone with them to the network event. I will tell you later how do you deal with that.
First, I choose my networking opportunities. Can I find my target audience there? Or, are there people with whom I can collaborate or I can learn from? I would less likely go to a convention on food, but I would attend a meeting of the association of engineers.
Second, I make sure that I take plenty of business cards with me. Recently, I spoke to a lady from a municipality who had a good story. Unfortunately she had no business card. I gave her one of mine in the hope that they would call me. Of course I could have written down her contact details. So, take a pen and a small notebook along as well.
Third, I define at least five goals before I go to a network event. This can range from finding a client, someone to work together with, someone who is going to follow me via social media, someone who will recommend me to others (ambassador) or someone who can help me with a solution to a problem. Recently, I was wondering how to activate a certain application within Facebook. In no time I had found someone who explained that to me and that was another reason to continue to speak to that person.
Even if I just reach 1 goal, it has been a successful event .
What to talk about? You can always ask someone why he or she has come to this particular event. What is the other one looking for? It is quite handy to have a pitch ready. Briefly tell you who you are, what you do, how you’ve learned what you do and how you help people. You can close by asking if the other person recognizes your story. Also, ask a question to achieve one of your goals, like: “Do you know someone with an engineering firm that I can approach for coaching?”.
I experience some anxiousness when walking up to someone to chat during a networking event. At certain networking events it is possible to participate in so-called speed dating sessions . This is actually a very safe and quick way of networking because the other is really open to get to know you and they want to tell their story as well. Often you just have to sit and people come to you . It is a pleasant way to learn how to network, practice your pitch and meet lots of people in a short time
How do you remember the name of the person you’re talking with? Simple, repeat their name in the conversation or in a question: “Mathilde, what do you hope to find here?”.
Then, there is a fun twist to a network conversation and that is to ask what else the other one is looking for. Is there someone in your own network that can help the other with something completely different? It is quite possible that he or she is looking for a real estate agent because the housing market is recovering. I believe in the power of a network and to refer to others within my network. See my page “referrals” for more information and with who I might connect you with .
Perhaps the most important is to go to a network event with the thought “What can I bring ? How can I help people?”. It’s less is effective to show up as a taker (“What is in it for me?”). People will be aware of this in an early stage.
Some people are not at all interested in your story. You will recognize this soon, they look around, yawn or look at their phone. That is fine as well. Thank them for their time. There are plenty of others to meet.
What to do with those people who cling to you? Stay friendly, tell them about the techniques written in this article and say that you would like to meet some more people as well.
And finally, do not forget say goodbye in a friendly way. Make a (call) appointment if there is a reason to do so.
What are your techniques and experiences with networking? I am curious!
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