The saying “No man is an island” is more pertinent in business than almost anywhere else and that is why networking is an integral part of running a business.
But it is not easy. Some entrepreneurs are not social and meeting strangers is difficult for a lot of people. Here are some tips to put to work that should help you network better:
Never arrive late: It seems counter-intuitive but it is much better ti get to a networking event or meeting earlier rather than later, especially if your are attending or meeting for the first time. Besides, coming early gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself and get your game face on. If its an event, its easier to find people who have not found conversation partners yet (or be picked to be someone’s conversation partner).
Ask easy questions: Don’t wait around for someone to approach you. You can get the conversation started by simply walking to a person or group, and say, “May I join you?”or “Hi, what brings you to this event?” If you’re not a natural extrovert, be sure to listen intently and choose what you reply to. That’s already half of the job done.
Forget the sales pitch: Remember, networking is all about building relationships. Keep your part of the exchange fun, light and informal — you don’t need to start selling to a person just minutes into meeting them. People are more likely to do business with people whose company they enjoy. If a potential client/customer/business lead does ask about your product/service/company, be sure to have an easy description at hand. Before arriving, create a mental list of recent accomplishments, that way you can easily picked something off the list to talk about.
Let your passion shine: Don’t take it overboard, obviously, but you can win people over with the enthusiasm you have for your product or service. You can leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. When you get people to share they passion as well, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.
Smile: This may be the most overlooked, yet important, rule of engagement. By smiling, you’ll put yourself at ease and also come across as warm and inviting to others. Smile before you enter the room and smile before you start the next conversation. Drop any negative attitude at the door.
Because of the weird personal nature of networking, a lot of entrepreneurs find it particularly tasking. Use the tips listed above and it’ll be a lot easier for you!
Do you know any other networking tips that could be useful for entrepreneurs? Share them in the comments section below. Happy hunting!