Tips for Successful Networking
Sep 24, 2013 2:32 PM
Let’s face it. Networking events can be a little bit intimidating especially if you don’t know anyone and you don’t exactly frequent many cocktail hours. However, these events can be an amazing opportunity to connect with industry peers and garner new ideas about the way you do business.
Whether you are a networking aficionado or newbie, here are some tips we have collected to ensure a successful (and painless) time at networking events.
1. Networking is just making new friends.
If you watch young children on a playground it is fascinating how easy it is for them to join a game of tag and become best friends by the end of the day. Inherently, networking is just like joining a game of tag and making new friends on the playground. Remember, some common denominator has brought you to that particular event. Use that interest to your advantage and start up relevant conversation topics on that common ground.
2. Go with topics in mind.
As silly as it sounds, sometimes it’s nice to come with prepared topics to throw out to the group. What are you hoping to gain from this event? Do you want to find a mentor? Or are you looking for new hires? Go in with a few conversation points that are in line with your goals (more on that later) and be prepared to talk on them.
3. Have a goal.
Set concrete goals before the event. For example, tell yourself you will speak to 10 people at this certain event and work hard to make it happen. As stated before, having topics in mind before heading to the event will help in leading conversations.
4. Start small.
For a less threatening situation, join a small group. For those who fall on the side of being more introverted than extroverted this will allow you to examine the more verbal folks around you. Watch their body language, how they maintain eye contact, and how they speak with those around them. Use this as a way to learn how you can become more of an effective networker.
5. Sales pitch? Don’t do it.
Keep in mind that networking is about relationship building. Keep it fun, light, and informal. No one wants to be sold something in the first two minutes of the conversation; the purpose of networking events is to get the conversation started…so maybe a “sale” can come later down the road (not the conversation). People are more apt to do business with those they like. However, if a person does ask you about your products or services, be ready with an easy description of your company.
So you had a fantastic conversation with someone and you have his or her card. Don’t forget to follow-up with them. Whether it is via email or social media (LinkedIn was born for this type of follow-up) it is always important to follow-up with the connections you made at your events.
Now that we’ve given you some tips on how to network, you may be wondering how to get started. CEDIA is also offering a new opportunity for members to network face-to-face. Connect with CEDIA events will allow you to learn from experts in the field, discuss hot topics, and socialize. Visit cedia.net/connect for the full schedule.
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