3 Mins Read
We all know in the business world, it’s your network that brings you to places. Yet networking is one of those few things I know that is capable of putting a certain degree of jitters in most adults.
Do you dread going to every session because you never know what to say? How is it that some people just seem to network so easily and effortlessly?
Today, we are going to explore some tips and tricks that can make you feel less of a fish out of water in these networking sessions.
1) Arrive Early
Arrive at the event 15 minutes earlier is one of those brilliant tips that all networking pros use to make themselves feel right at home.
Why This Works: The psychology behind this is fairly simple. It is always easier and far more comfortable to be in the position to invite others to talk than to be in the position where you are hoping to be invited into a conversation.
Remember, there are probably many others who are feeling as uncomfortable as you. When you arrive early, it is not only natural but also much easier to initiate a conversation with the person who came after you.
Generic questions like “Did you get caught in the traffic on the way here?” or “How did you come to hear about this event?” would all serve to go a long way.
Everyone wants to be invited into a conversation. So if you reached earlier, please do remember to graciously ease others into your circle as well!
2) Select Open Formations
Even if you arrive late, ease yourself into groups which have people standing side by side facing outwards then closed circles which have people facing inwards. (See illustration below)
Why This Works: It is much easier to slide into these groups naturally. Forcing your way into a closed circle may be bit awkward as everyone has to rearrange themselves to accommodate you.
That move would not score very high on the first impressions score card.
3) Ask Questions, Avoid Talking About Yourself
Once in a conversation with someone you want to connect with, ask the person questions regarding themselves. Attempt to steer the topic away from yourself unless they ask specifically.
Why This Works: Studies have proven that people enjoy talking about themselves the most. If you can make someone talk about themselves for the huge part of the conversation, they actually think you can hold a great conversation!
Besides, the more they talk about themselves, the more you can find out about them. Is this a person you might possibly want to work with?
Is there any value in building this network in hope of a strategic alliance? If not, you can kindly excuse yourself and move on.
4) Bring Breath Mints
Always freshen up your breath with a mint before a session. Period.
Why This Works: Nothing kills conversations and confidence faster than bad breath. Bring a pack of breath mints to prevent that from happening, especially when food is served at the event.
Pro tip: Breath mints can also doubles up as a conversation starters. Pop a mint into your mouth while standing next to the person you want to talk to. Then proceed to casually offer it to the person. Voila! You have your conversation opener.
Do try out the above tips when you go on your next networking session. We would just like to leave with you a wise piece of advice from Dr Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of Business Network International (BNI).
“Never, ever ask for anything from someone you’ve just met, who you don’t have any relationship with.”
Networking is not just about who you know, but how well you know them. We hope these tips and tricks will assist you in making the connections you need. Happy networking!
Featured Image Credits: interviewangel.com