Make genuine personal connections.
Don’t dominate the conversation and talk about yourself and your business. Make people feel that you are genuinely interested in them. Try to get to know the person you are speaking to and ask questions about what they do, this often brings about potential business opportunities.
Be friendly and good humoured.
Be friendly, smiling and welcoming, it helps people remember you and your company. Show true interest in what the other person does and ask them questions – then talk about yourself. This will go a long way towards a positive first impression.
On joining a conversation listen and then show you were listening.
An effective way to make a good first impression is to join a conversation with a comment that shows you were listening, and interested, in those present. Don’t only focus on yourself and your work – nothing will stop a conversation faster.
Be yourself, take a casual approach.
At a networking event, the best approach is to talk about your business in a casual way. If possible, check out who is attending and know who you wish to connect with. You can then focus on people who are relevant to your business.
Research attendees and come prepared with questions.
Pay attention to the conversations around you, be prepared with questions that help you learn about those present, and then it will be easier to share about yourself and your business when the time is right.
Bring a friend to a networking event.
It is a good idea to attend an event with a contact from another company, that way you can talk each other up. It can be hard to brag about yourself and your firm’s achievements, but your contact can do that for you, and vice versa.
People enjoy talking about themselves – showing interest in the other person creates a good first impression. Having done your research on the attendees, ask a question which you know will interest and put the person you are speaking to at ease, while showing your listening skills also. When you show that you are interested in others, the more interesting you become yourself.
When you introduce yourself have a story that shows your enthusiasm about your business.
Have a personal story ready about yourself and your business, people will see that you are genuine and will like that about you.
Be aware of your ability to help your new connections.
Offering to make helpful introductions when meeting new people certainly helps in leaving a good impression. It can also lead to long term benefits for all concerned. Networking can be very powerful.
If you want to get better results – be your relaxed friendly self.
If you put too much pressure on yourself for what you want to achieve while attending networking events, it is likely to become forced and boring. The best advice is simple be genuine and listen to people. This will take the pressure off the situation and your networking will lead to rewarding results.