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We have all been to more than a handful of business networking events and like me, you probably noticed that these places are one of the loudest places to be. Yes, it’s fun, but if you are into some serious business, and you are planning to come with a strategy, these tips will help you in leaving that one event in one piece.
1. Be friendly
The earth we live in could make use of friendly people, especially in the business sphere. The friendliest person in the room is always the one that is most remembered.
2. Your business card is not a flyer, stop distributing them
You ever had that feeling on your way to the subway train, and someone is handing you over a piece of paper for practically no reason at all? Never do that at business networking events. I don’t need to emphasize over and over again, but it turns people away from you when you just hand over your business card and turn to the next available person.
3. Before you treat everyone a customer, deal with them as human beings first.
“Hi we have this exciting promo that you might be interested in, you just need to fill in the form at this link then you are good to go.” If you don’t want a blank stare on your face, try to converse with your authentic voice. Say something that the person can relate to like, “this place is quite loud don’t you think?” then follow-up with “but this is an awesome place to meet dynamic individuals like yourself.” Try it, it’s fun!
4. Keep yourself away from your smartphone
I’ve seen a lot of people do this, look at their smartphone and continuously nod as if they understand what I am saying. Yes, we are all busy people but I guess a few minutes away from your smartphones especially in business development activities won’t hurt you. Would it?
5. Be different
There is no rule of thumb for this, just try your best to be different. And in places like this, there is usually a cookie cutter approach to dealing with people. Your best option is when you try something different. How about introducing the person you are talking to the next person beside you and providing insight on what that person is doing.
6. Smile a lot
I don’t think this would need further explanation. No matter what you are going through, business networking events are not the right place for you to sob and be sad.
7. Write notes on the business card, but…
It’s ok to write notes on a business card but never do this while the person is still talking to you. Do it immediately after your conversation, there is no better way to look disrespectful than to rush with your pen and write on the person’s business card as if you are marking his ever word.
8. Pay attention to the other person you are talking to
Listen, and listen well. A good conversationalist is an excellent listener.
9. Don’t pitch too hard, actually don’t even pitch
Most of the time you only have roughly less than five minutes to have a chat with the other person. If you would use up all that time just pitching to them and not providing any value or human-centric piece of information. Don’t expect them to remember you at all.
10. Be appreciative of other people’s time
Don’t forget to say “thank you” and provide an honest feedback about the conversation you had with the other person, it will help them build confidence in the brand you are trying to convey to them.
| If you keep these simple tips in mind, you will surely see the light of day in your strategy. Remember, your goal on these meetups is not to sell a product nor to sell yourself. Your goal is that people will remember you. |
I had had some real conversations where the person forgot about me when I sent him a follow-up text message, and when I reminded him about our short chat, he apologized and said he remembered me but not my name.
So the next time you walk into a business networking event, take a deep breath and try to win a conversation first, the selling part will come next but between meeting a stranger and closing a deal, you need a strategy in place. But if you left an event only with tons of business cards in your pocket, any strategy will hardly work after that.
Do you have an experience where these business networking events have benefited you? Share in the comment section below.