With invites to company BBQs and informal networking get-togethers starting to roll in, here are a few of our top tips to help you grow your contacts during the summer months.
Get out of your comfort zone. It’s only natural to gravitate towards people that you already know, but if you find yourself in this situation, try to look out for new people. The great news is that people go to networking events to meet strangers, so you’re in the same position as everyone else.
Perfect your elevator pitch. A summer networking event may be more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared. Make sure you have your elevator pitch ready to go for your new audience. It must be short and show the benefit of what you do. For example, ‘I’m a lawyer with XYZ and I help my clients…’
Let them do the talking. A great way to get to know someone else is to ask them thoughtful questions. Good ones start with ‘How?’, ‘What?’, ‘Why?’. ‘That’s interesting, tell me more’ is also a useful line to use. It’s good to walk away from a networking encounter having allowed the other person to speak more than you did. They will feel great about the conversation and you will have the important information you need to start building a meaningful relationship.
Arrive armed with some non-controversial conversation topics. In case the conversation stalls, it’s good to have something topical to get it moving again. Avoid politics and religion.
Be honest. Remember that you could be talking to your next big client or someone who will you refer you to that client. If you want to move on from a conversation, be honest and say you want to move on to meet someone else. Don’t pretend to respond to an imagery email. Good eye contact and not saying too much will reinforce the honesty of your comment.
It’s not what happens at the event, it is what you do after that is most important. Follow up quickly so that the acquaintance remembers you. Try mentioning a conversation or topic you discussed at the event.
To find out more about The Influence Business and how we help equip senior professionals with the skills and confidence to maximise business networking opportunities, click here.