The Communication Gym’s top 3 networking tips
Have another 5-7pm networking event on your calendar coming up? Or a full-day conference that will inevitably require some networking energy? While you may have some colleagues who thrive in these environments, you also have some who would rather go to every haunted hayride in a 100-mile vicinity in lieu of such an event.
Read on for our top three tips to make your next networking opportunity a pleasant experience.
1. Arrive with well-rehearsed answers to the 3 Critical Questions.
As a refresher, those 3 questions are:
What do you do?
Why should I do business with you personally?
Why should I do business with your company?
As you prepare your answers to these questions, here are some pointers. For the first question, think about the value you bring to your role or organization. And for the second two, brag with integrity about yourself and your company! At a networking event, “What do you do?” is a common conversation opener. You want to be creative to make these answers interesting.
2. Before you leave for the event, ask yourself why you are going. Your first answer may be because your boss thinks you should or will notice if you don’t attend. Networking events really serve two purposes: to build your network and to build your client base. So before you get there, decide what your purpose is and then use this occasion to get beyond your comfort zone. Look for opportunities to help and add value to others, either by connecting with people who mutually strengthen your networks or by identifying potential prospects whose problems you are uniquely qualified to solve. Finding your friends so you can retreat to a corner is not the reason you are there!
3. How do you get out of a conversation smoothly and comfortably? We don’t want you to say that you need to go to the restroom! Removing yourself from a conversation does not have to be an awkward moment. A simple statement like “It has been nice talking with you. There are some others I would like to connect with this evening. Let’s talk again soon (if you think a possible relationship exists) or best of luck to you (if you do not envision another conversation).” Practice this statement out loud, even as you’re driving to the event.
Don’t be scared by networking events! A little preparation ahead of time will alleviate your discomfort while there.
If you’re ready for more practice, we got you covered.