To be honest, I use to be atrocious at networking with others. I would just be all types of nervous and dread talking to people. Oh yes, I would attend the gathering listening to people on panels and such, but I would stand in the corner and never talk to anyone.
We must know that everyone has a little bit of social awkwardness in them, but we must embrace those flaws full head on. Here are five ways to take your networking up a notch this holiday season.
Know Your Networking Style
One of the best things, I needed to understand was my networking style and what worked for me. Too many times we throw ourselves into situations and make things even more socially awkward. First, I realized that smaller networking events are my jam and work better for me. In addition to that, attending panels or workshops are a better place for me to network because you are gathering information that can later start conversations. Conversation starters are your best friends.
Work On Your Pitch
Who are you in your business and who is your business? People are going to know who you are and what your business is. You don’t want to fumble talking to others regarding your business. You want to shine bright like a diamond. Every week, take the time to practice in front of the mirror who you are. It might sound super silly, but standing in front of the mirror talking about yourself and business will help cool the jitters. Note three main focus points regarding your business giving people insight and reason to follow up with you.
Research The Participants
Know the who’s who of attendings when planning to attend a local gathering or networking event. Most people are super focused on getting the attention of the host or panelist. You will be fighting others to garner their attention. Most people who are attending the event are listed on the Facebook page, or they have commented on social media regarding attending. Search the hashtags to find people who will be attending. Follow everyone who has similar ideas and thoughts as you. Start engaging them immediately to forge a relationship that way come event day you have someone you know.
Connect With Host
Yes, this might seem like it contradicts the previous statement but I want you to connect with the host too. Always note the host of the events has the leverage and connections to bring all these people under one roof. That is someone you want to know; they are a connector. Being friends with a connector can help you get along further. Make sure you find time to thank them for hosting the event that day or send an email to them.
Follow Up Within 48 Hours
The biggest part of taking your networking up a notch is your follow up game. Most people fail on this end of the networking. You are wanting to make sure you follow up within 48 hours of meeting everyone. One thing I try to do is write on their business card how I meet them or interestings facts they shared. This helps create the follow-up conversation needed to invite them to coffee, lunch or dinner later.
The ball gets dropped before events too many time because of the lack of the plan. Take these five tips to help you excel next time you’re networking.
Images by Manhattan Princess