The informed networker shows up to events with a plan. Here are five tips that will help you next time you have the opportunity to attend a speed networking event. (If you are a shy networker and Speed Networking is out of your comfort zone, these tips will put you in the drivers seat by focusing on the other person.)
Bring plenty of business cards. Those that show up without a business card do not appear to be on top of their game and makes others wonder if they are serious about their business.
Prepare a list of 4 to 5 questions to ask each person. Your questions are the key to gathering good information that you can use in your follow up. Asking good questions is actually more valuable than sharing everything you do for a living. (For a good list of questions, sign up for the newsletter at www.espressobrain.com and you will receive a PDF version of #100 great Business Networking Tips you can use.)
Check your calendar ahead of time so you can fill your 1×1 slots for the week. My personal goal is to hold 4 per week. (1x1s are appointments to meet those that you meet while networking so you can get to know the person and their business better.). At this week’s networking event there were 50 people in the room. I connected with 20 of them which could fill my 1×1 schedule for the next 5 weeks.
The last question I ask those I meet is for permission to call/email and/or connect on social media. Someone who has given you permission is more likely to take your call or answer your email.
When I meet a new business person, I focus on finding out what is most important to that person, not what is important to me. When I find out what is important to them I try to connect with them on that level, not from a sales perspective.
I usually find when people I meet networking follow up with me, they go right for the sales presentation. Networking is the sharing of information, ideas, and resources…not selling. The “selling” will naturally happen if you have done a really outstanding job of “networking”. A “sale” is singular focused whereby “networking” has unlimited possibilities. Tapping into each other’s network can prove to be a great way to build a profitable relationship.
If you know someone that could benefit from this information, pass it along….now you are networking!