05 Feb How to Make Networking Easy
Do you find networking in person intimidating? I network regularly and have become comfortable with a number of individuals in the groups I normally attend. There are always several familiar faces. However, later today I am participating in a large networking event with an expected turnout of over 500 business owners and professionals. I’ll be a little out of my comfort zone there so I’ve been going over some networking basics in preparation. Here’s what I’ve come up with for tonight’s meeting and as a refresher for your next big networking event.
First ask: Remember, networking is not about you. Take the pressure off by asking questions. “What kind of projects do you work on?” is a good conversation starter after the initial introductions. Redirect your nervous energy to enthusiasm. Listen, be helpful and share information.
Then tell: Practice your Elevator Pitch. Keep it simple, “I am… I help…” For example, mine would go something like this, “I am a Virtual Assistant. I help business owners with administrative and technical tasks to assist them in generating more revenue and growing their business.” If you’re prepared with what you’re going to say, it will be more natural. Also note:
o If there are no individuals to approach, find a group of 3 or more where you can connect with one person not highly engaged in the conversation. Avoid groups of 2 in conversation with each other only!
o Have plenty of business cards handy. Exchange cards at the end of a conversation if there is a need to stay in touch.
If you’re still feeling the anxiety, know that you are not alone. Accept the fear and do it anyway. Networking is about establishing, maintaining and building relationships and is a necessity in business. You never know who you might meet. You can almost always find commonalities or come up with a good connection for someone. When you do, everyone benefits. Happy networking!