Six Secrets to Rock Your Networking
Sure, there are countless articles about tips and tricks to better networking. Of course, you don’t need to be told that you should smile and offer a firm handshake when meeting new people. Networking does remain crucial to growing your professional circle, so here’s a few very simple secrets I have personally learned to help you rock your next event.
Shoes Speak Louder Than Words.
Ladies, I know heels are a confidence booster, but if you’re going to wear them into the evening, at least invest in a pair you can stand and concentrate in. Men, I know it’s an often-neglected chore, but make sure your shoes are shined as they represent your attention to detail.
Bring an umbrella.
Picture this. You get to the networking event looking great and feeling confident and you realize it started raining and the building entrance is WAY too far away. An umbrella will get you to the door looking savvy, not soaked.
Altoids are your friend.
It’s best to steer clear of the buffet. You don’t want bad breath, food on your shirt, crumbs on your sleeves, or something in your teeth while you’re trying to have a conversation. If you do partake, do everyone a favor and pop an Altoid.
Be a chronic collector.
Since we’ve established that networking events are not a substitute for dinner, remind yourself that the only thing you need to collect during these events are business cards. Think of it like treasure hunting – the more you connect with people in the room, the more business cards you’ll uncover. Follow up with everyone.
Craft an icebreaker.
Think up a few of these and make a mental or physical note of them. Know what sports are in season and how the local teams are faring. Find out who’s attending and gather some backstory on those you plan on meeting. My opener is usually “So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first so you can think through common connections.
Generally, people are just not that into you. (Sorry!) Most people enjoy talking about themselves – so make an effort to actively listen. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn about them – and how you can position yourself to help with their business needs.