Are you a professional networker?
If we are being honest, many people do not enjoy networking events. They can be awkward, intimidating, and often feel forced. It can take some of the pressure off if you keep in mind that most people feel the same way.
Networking as a professional is not mandatory, but very highly recommended. It will help you gain exposure, learn of new opportunities and attract new clients to your business. You may have the opportunity to help someone else which promotes good karma!
However, if you have major anxiety and jitters at the thought of attending a networking event, we have some tips for you.
1. Be a Good Listener
You may have expected this to be on the top of the list, as this is certainly not a new concept. People enjoy speaking about themselves. But make sure you are both listening and retaining information. Stay focused, show you are interested in what they are saying, and do not interrupt. If you agree with a point they are making, simply nod your head. When they are finished speaking, it is your turn to follow up with relevant questions.
2. Sell Yourself Without a Sales Pitch
When someone asks about your position or your company, you do not need to immediately launch into your sales spiel. Tell them a few tidbits about yourself and try to steer the conversation toward the other person’s accomplishments. As you may know, when people feel good about themselves they feel good about you as well.
3. It Is Okay Not To Connect With Someone
Do not feel like you need to meet your next client at each networking event. While it would be ideal, but it is not the most important part of interacting with other professionals. Showing up and getting your cards out there is just fine. Consider it a practice round.
4. Don’t Forget To Smile
This seems simple enough, but often people forget just how important it is. If you are smiling it will make others want to smile.Your positive vibe attracts people and it will help them remember you. Isn’t that what networking is all about?