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Use these 11 tips to ensure your next business networking event is a success and you create memorable, strong connections.
You don’t want to be the person who only talks about themselves and has one-sided conversations that end with a business card. Practice some of these helpful hints to become a more active listener and conversationalist. You might even end up with a new business partner, customer, investor, or friend.
Here are 11 ideas to try:
- Ask a different question. When starting a new conversation with someone mix it up! How many times do you hear “What do you do?” If you hear the same questions you know they do too. Make an impression from the start with being different. “What are you the most excited for at this event?” Or ask them what they think of a new idea you have. People will remember different, stand out!
- Listen. Take a breath and let them tell you about themselves. Often times you might have to pose a question to get them to open up but once they start talking they won’t stop. The more they talk the more it appears you are an active listener, as long as you are attentively listening.
- How can I help you? Ask them how you can help them, maybe it’s by introducing them to someone. After actively listening you should know more about them and what they are trying to accomplish. All too often people try and get what they need before helping give to others, thinking of others first will help you make more lasting relationships.
- Make an impression. One of the most important things you can do when meeting new people is standout and make an impression. At large events when you meet a plethora of people you only remember the ones that made a memorable or strong impression.
- Quality not quantity. We’ve all heard it before, quality not quantity. This applies when meeting new people. Get involved with their conversation and be genuine. On the back of their business card write the event where you met, any characteristics and conversations you had, then follow up within 24 hours. Business cards don’t sell your business, but creating strong connections will.
- Clearly define what you do best. Get that elevator pitch ready, it’s a great way to give a quick overview of what you and your company do.Try to deliver it with passion and make it interesting. It’s very possible that they will find what you do boring, so be excited and proud about what you do.
- Tell a story. Be authentic and tell a story. Stories are the best way to allow other people to understand the type of thinker and person that you are.
- Smile and make eye contact. People make judgements within the first 10 second of meeting someone new and if they aren’t engaged by the point they will start tuning you out. Being friendly and genuine will make an impression and smiling and making sincere eye contact shows that you are interested in speaking with them. These tiny gestures will set the stage for you to engage in a meaningful conversation.
- Repeat their name. Repeat their name and use it in conversation. This will not only help you remember it but everyone responds more to their name you form a connection.
- Talk about your passions. Tell them about your passions and ask them about theirs. After the introductions and brief explanation about what you do ask them “What are you passionate about?” This tends to make people open up about themselves, whether it’s about their work, activities they enjoy, or ways they give back to their community and maybe you have a connection now. Whether you just learn more about them or have similar interests it helps build the relationship.
- Compliment them. While making connections and learning more about people try and compliment them. Flattery is tried and true. People remember you when you compliment them. Make sure you are being genuine though it doesn’t work unless you’re being honest.
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