On this blog I write about a lot of events going on in the area, and I encourage people to get out there and explore the entrepreneurial and business world. Coming from my own experience, I know that this is a lot easier said then done.
As we all know, networking can really help grow a business. Not only do you find people who want your services, you can make business contacts and meet new friends.
Show Up Early
I know that this might not seem like a magic bullet, but trust me, it helps. When I first started attending networking events I would show up late, and everybody would already be mingling around the room. It felt awkward to just pop-in on a conversation, so most of the time I walked around, said a few quick hellos, and then I’d leave.
Mistakenly, I went to an event early and it really opened up my eyes. I was there to greet people, and it was much easier to start a conversation. When there’s only a few people in the room, it’s easier to talk to them. You don’t have to feel like you’re interrupting something important.
If you fall into the pattern of showing up late and wandering around, go to your next event early, and try it out.
It Pays To Listen
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed by how many people just like to talk. Anyone can show up at an event and brag about how great their business and products are. Even if it’s true; nobody really wants to hear it. They didn’t show up to hear you boast about yourself for an hour. When you listen to people, you can become engaged in their conversation, and you can also ask relevant questions.
The person you are talking to will take notice that you are listening. More importantly they will feel comfortable around you. When people are comfortable with you, they will do business with you. In the case of networking, it certainly does pay to listen.
Don’t Be A Salesman
It may be a natural feeling to attend a networking event, and try to sell people on your services and products, but you should resist the temptation. Instead of trying to sell your services, simply talk to people. I know my last tip was to listen, but it would be a little awkward if you didn’t add anything to the conversation.
Like I said with listening, most business opportunities come from people who feel comfortable with you. People will feel uncomfortable with a hard sales pitch. You’re better off looking at it as a time to make friends.
If you are starting to attend networking events, and you are a little nervous about it, try these 3 simple tips. You’ll feel more at ease and people will take notice.
Remember, not everyone is a “natural” at networking and you don’t have to be one. Attend events, relax, have fun, try these 3 simple tips and you’ll be a networking star in no time.