Networking goes hand in hand with running a successful business. But many of us dread walking into a room and introducing ourselves to a bunch of strangers. Here are some tips on networking effectively and working through your fears:
• Resist the urge to arrive late: As a first attendee, you’ll notice that it’s calmer and quieter, and people won’t have settled into groups yet. • Ask easy questions: To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” • Ditch the sales pitch: The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with people whose company they enjoy. • Smile: By smiling, you’ll put your nervous self at ease, and you’ll also come across as warm and inviting to others. • Share your passion: Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. • Don’t hijack the conversation: Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker. • Remember to follow up: Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you’re interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.