“The right people and the right connections won’t always come to you.
Usually you’ve got to go to them!”
Networking is a critical 21st century skill. Whether you want more business, leads and sales, or more profile, influence and career options, it’s vital that you are well-connected.
When it comes to winning more business, try asking a few people where their business comes from. Most people will say referrals, recommendations, introductions and word of mouth. If you come across corporate executives of professionals who don’t have a sales angle to their role, simply ask them where their last job or promotion come from. Again, you’ll hear word of mouth, recommendations and introductions.
This is all proof that networking works. But only if you work it. The problem with these channels is that you need a good personal reputation and a strong network of connections for them to be successful. That means you must be a good networker. Otherwise, no matter how good you are as a sales person, business developer or career professional, you are anonymous in your company or marketplace.
As we saw in the previous blog (Part 1), if you’re going to network, a little preparation goes a long way. However, if you spend your precious time choosing an event, registering your interest and then travelling there and back, you don’t want to waste your effort, time and entrance fee by leaving it all to chance when you get there.
Experienced networkers know how to begin, maintain and end conversations well. They know how to build rapport that eventually generates new business. If you want to do that, to ‘work a room’ to the max, there are two things to consider: what to do before an event, and what to do while you’re there. We’ve covered the ‘before you go’ preparation element. Now let’s look more at the ‘while you’re there’ part.
When you walk through the door, this is where ‘working the room’ really begins. Knowing what you are going to do in advance can really make the time spent out of your busy schedule worthwhile. In part 2 of this 3 part series on successfully working a room, here are 7 top more tips for when you enter the room:
Networking Success – What To Do When You Arrive at an Event
- Survey the Room
Don’t just rush into it. Take a few moments to survey the room. Grab a drink if necessary, to give you the excuse to stand back and look at what’s happening. Be a people watcher for a moment and take stock of who is in the room, who you might want to talk to and who you might not!
- Remember Your Why.
Remind yourself why you are there. Whether that’s sourcing new business opportunities, raising your profile or schmoozing with key influencers, your ‘why’ will keep you going when you’d rather be somewhere else!
- Pick a Target.
Consider who you want to meet. Look for anyone you may know who you really want to speak to. If you can, get a guest list and scan down it to see who might be an interesting networking connection. Once you’ve selected one or two individuals or open groups to approach, you’re off and running. AND you’re doing it intentionally, which is what most of the best networkers do.
- Use Your Hosts.
If you’ve used the guest list to highlight a few people you’re interested in having a conversation with, here is another option. Rather than looking for them, ask your hosts or event organisers to introduce you. That’s their job and they usually love doing it! Use these words or similar; ‘Hi Jo – great event you’ve organised here. Say, I’d love to meet this guy Jim Brown but I’m not sure who he is. As you probably know everyone in the room, would you mind introducing me?’
- Keep Focused
Even if you get into a very good chat and are having a great time, don’t use that as an excuse to really chase the contacts that might result in more business. You could make lots of friends, but they might be people who can’t help you build your business or your career. Don’t ignore anyone, but aim to stay targeted on those who are likely to help you with your networking objectives for the day.
- Be Positive
As someone once said, get yourself in the right state, not in a right state! When you enter the room, keep your head up, shoulders back, smile and look as if networking is like falling off a log. If your nervous, don’t show it but be assured that the majority of people in the room feel just the same as you. You’ve got every right to be there and you are definitely worth knowing. You’re great company, you’re brilliant at what you do and you would add huge value to the networks of most people in the room. So act like it!
- Stay in Control
If you can’t stick to the fruit juice or water, don’t overdo it on the alcohol! One drink might calm your nerves, but more than that and your brain will begin to feel the effects. And a drunk networker is a usually useless networker!
Don’t get worried that you’re not a born introvert or you’re not that good with people. Remember that world class networking is coachable. Almost everyone can do it with a little coaching.
For now, get lots of useful tips, hints and strategies to build and leverage powerful connections with a free lifetime subscription to the Networking Coaching Academy. It’s the world’s #1 business networking training platform and has everything you need to become a much more confident, strategic and effective networker.
Click here and hit the big green GET STARTED HERE button to get your special username and password. You can then access 100+ videos, 72+ expert interviews and some great resources to make you a more accomplished business networker and connector.
Now check out Networking Tips – How to Work a Room (Part 3) where you’ll learn more great tips and strategies to be more interesting, engaging and effective in face to face networking situations.
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- Networking Tips – How to Work a Room (Part 3) by Rob Brown - September 14, 2015