Networking tips for professionals

No matter how good a marketer you are, if you’re in business you’ll benefit from face to face networking events. Making connections is vital in a world dominated by the phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ So how can you make a killer impression at your next networking event?

Arrive early

Arriving at an event early helps you break the ice with other early-birds and helps create a sense of camaraderie before you even start. You’ll be able to chat and potentially make relationships before others even arrive. It also helps with the nerves if you suffer from them. The early bird catches the worm.

Listen more than you talk

Although networking can be an opportunity to sell yourself and your business, don’t start waffling on about yourself at the expense of others. Like any conversation advice says, do more listening than you do talking. Take on board what you hear and offer your side of the story and your own assertions, but never dominate the conversation or come off bullish (which can be tough when you’re a passionate person).

Utilise the digital market

Once you’ve met someone face to face, you can add them on LinkedIn to keep in touch. Alternatively, you can forgo networking events and just find people you want to connect with on the site, then shoot them a message asking to meetup for coffee. An invaluable tool for professionals, LinkedIn helps get your ‘foot in the door’ before you’ve even left the office.

Presentation is key

When you’re attending an event you’re also representing your business. Try to make it as easy as possible for people to work out the details. This means business cards and name badges.

Your business card should be clear, concise and memorable without being tacky. Get it printed on good stock and get your contact details on there. Name, email address and telephone number as well as your position in the company.

You can opt for a simple badge of have a custom name badge created which will really enhance first impressions and make you look like a consummate professional – as well as avoiding any potential awkwardness if someone was to forget your name.

Follow up with contacts

When you’ve met someone who you want to make contact with again, make sure you follow up quickly. Whether it’s a call, text or an email – get it done within 48 hours to solidify the new relationship and leave a good impression. Try to remember personal details and strike up some authentic conversation as a follow-up. A generic ‘nice to meet you’ won’t cut it.

Be positive, genuine and approachable

If you’re uncomfortable, feign comfort. Nobody wants to approach someone who looks like they don’t want to be there. Keep an open mind and recognise that you may make some big deals or leads out of the day. Smile, be friendly and enjoy yourself.

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