“If you’re more interested in what you’re saying than the person listening to you is, you’re the definition of a
boring person.” David Foster Wallace (American novelist. 1962 – 2008)
It’s that time of year again. The party season is now in full swing. And whilst some may use this opportunity to let their hair down, others utilise the festive period to bolster their network.
To help you make the most of the Christmas calendar, The Influence Business’ Managing Director, Jack Downton, shares some networking ‘Dos and Don’ts’ that you should employ (and avoid) at your next engagement.
- Select the right networking events to attend.
Your time is valuable so attend only those events that expose you to potential new clients.
- Research attendees.
If there are individuals you’re hoping to meet, conduct some pre-meeting research. Scope out their LinkedIn profiles to learn the basics about them and look for common connections.
- Have an ‘elevator pitch’ in place.
Be very careful not to be too rehearsed or you’ll sound insincere. Use it only as a guide to quickly and effectively explain the answer to the inevitable question “So, what do you do”. It should include your firm if that has not already come out and most importantly, what you do for people, rather than what you do. BENEFIT rather than feature.
- Depart from the person you walked in with, even if it’s just for a little while and approach somebody you don’t know.
If you aren’t sure who or how to approach, just try the simple, “Hi, may I join you?”. The chances of someone saying “No” are negligible!
- Excuse yourself from a conversation, and politely say that you are off to mingle with other guests.
Most people are there for the same reason, so don’t be offended if someone does the same to you. Do rehearse your escape lines before the event. Otherwise you may well look and sound uncomfortable.
- Monopolise conversation.
No matter how interesting your topic, do give others a chance to partake.
- Just list the services you provide.
Talk enthusiastically about your work. Discuss some of the issues your existing clients have experienced and how you helped them.
- Scan the room for your next encounter.
Give the fellow guest your undivided attention, just as you would expect them to do with you. People are more likely to remember individuals who made them feel good about themselves. So ask questions and be a great listener.
- Hog guests.
Instead of focusing only on making your own connections at the event, try and make an effort to connect others around you. When speaking to a guest, think about whether there’s someone else at the networking event who could help (or be helped) by this person.
- Forget to follow-up.
Instead of sending an email, try a handwritten note. It looks more personal and has greater impact.
We’ve helped hundreds of professionals become more comfortable and effective when networking. To find out more, click here to download our ‘Networking Skills’ course outline. Alternately, call +44 (0)870 428 8191 or email info@TheInfluenceBusiness.com.