Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Are You Scared of Business Networking? - How to Work the Room.

Do you ever get anxious when you are about to embark on an adventure attending a business networking event?   What, I need to talk to people?   I need to take a shower? What!  I need a plan or some business cards?  I need to go into the city and park my car!  Ugh..

Business Networking today is essential for survival in the ever increasing entrepreneurial world, but it is important to not network aimlessly.    With my group Mass Professional Networking, we aim to help all professionals make the best of their business networking efforts via our events and coaching.  The whole idea of networking should be fun and worthwhile, so let's chat about how to work the room!

How to Work A Room at a Business Networking Event:

1)   Don't go in cold - Do a little research on the people attending the event that you want to meet and use that information to break the ice with them.

2) Travel Light - Leave the pocketbooks at home, don't bring your laptop.  Just bring some business cards and a smile.

3) Walk The Walk - Walk through the event with confidence and look like you are having a good time.

4) Start With Some Appetizers - You know that most attendees hang out by the food or the bar, it is a great place to start at the event.

5) Who's Who - Don't read name tags on people first.  Maintain eye contact when talking to people  If you look all around at name tags, it makes you look furtive and shifty.

6) Approach VIPs First -  If there is a Keynote Speaker or a Host of the Event, chat with them at the beginning of the event since once the event gets going, they will be very busy attending to their guests.

7) Spot the Lone Wolves - When the room is crowded, it is harder to integrate into a group.  One-on-one networking is the most effective.

8)  And You Are? - The Goal is to ask others about themselves so you can connect to their interests and lives.  Mention your name at the beginning and the end of your conversation.

9) Press The Flesh - Always shake hands with a firm grip and no hugging.  It is uncomfortable hugging in a professional environment.

10) Be Curious -  While talking to new attendees, ask open ended questions to assess right off whether they will be of any help.  Real leaders are curious.

11) Card Exchange - Develop a system where you keep your cards in one pocket and the cards you collect in another pocket, so you don't mix and match.

12) Get an Introduction -  Grab a mutual acquaintance to provide an introduction for you.  Takes away the shyness.

13)  Give and Take - Always try to be a connector, the person that brings people together.

14) It's a Wrap - Summarize a list of you would like to follow-up with, and FOLLOW UP!

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