Show interest. Ask questions
Networking is more than face time at meetings. It’s about really getting to know others. Just showing up and passing out cards isn’t enough. You need to spend some time getting to know other people, learning about their businesses, and understanding how (and when) to refer to them, just as you are hoping they will send referrals your way.
Start a conversation with anyone and everyone. Learn how to ask questions and discuss topics that have nothing to do with your business. Establish a common interest and develop a relationship. Keep asking questions until you find something in common. To be likeable, first and foremost, you must be friendly. As simple as that sounds, friendliness is not the norm. Being friendly requires time, attention, and mental focus.
Remember, many people at networking events do not know how to network. They may brush you off because they really don’t know that you have a large network and can give them referrals. Therefore, it is important to find out as much about them as you can. Then you can inform them of people and situations in your life experiences that can help them. Offer to send them an article or a link to a website that might be of interest to them. Ask who they would like to meet. Introduce them or send the information when you follow-up. Be a good resource.
Be very clear about what you do and offer. Make it short so it sticks. It is impossible to remember a long description. Make certain that you stand out with a creative description.
Stand out in with a sticky introduction
There are many mistakes people make in a 30-second commercial. A few of these are to say a title, a consultant, or what you sell. But the biggest mistakes are to say, “It is hard to explain.” or “How much time do you have?” Several years ago while networking, that is the response someone gave me when I asked him what he did. He then proceeded to give me a big packet of information to read so I could understand what he did. I had just met him. Why would I spend time reading a packet of information? Then I had to carry around that packet all morning. Did I ever read that information packet? You know the answer.
Just as the title suggests, we have only 30 seconds to elicit a response. You want to be appropriate, credible, intriguing, specific, and very brief (under 3.5 seconds). Not really 30 seconds but it is best said in seven words or less. Sell the benefits of what you do, not the features or process. The goal is to spark a subconscious interest in the other person so they will ask: “How do you do that?”
What is your sticky elevator pitch?
Be happy to meet everyone
First impressions are worth a thousand words. Your impression determines how you are perceived as a successful business professional. It also determines if someone will build a relationship with you.
Be intentional about what you are communicating non-verbally. Pay particular attention to dressing professionally and acting that way, too. Practice self-awareness and monitor your body language and facial expressions. That’s where the mirror comes into play. Positive facial expressions and body language are contagious and attractive. Avoid crossing your arms, frowning, scowling, and using other negative facial expressions. Recently, I toured the Denver Art Museum. It was quite obvious which kids were not enjoying themselves by the scowl on their faces. Make sure you are projecting the right image.
Maintain an open posture and upbeat expression. Watch your body positioning and never close the circle. This means, always keep an open spot for others to join your conversation. If you are speaking to just one person, stand in front of them at an angle so there is a space to welcome someone else into your conversation.
The joys of having special people in your life.
Pure love has no conditions or boundaries. Love does not restrain itself or hold back. Love gives all the time and doesn’t ask for anything in return. Love is a continuous flow without any limits. And all of this is inside you.
“Where ever we go, we take everything we’ve ever been.” Maya Angelou