We all go to them! We have all been to them! We all know people who go to them!
We see networking events as something important to us and our business. We go to them because we believe that we can strengthen our network, meet new people, acquire new knowledge and do business.
Some people see networking events as the “Holy Grail” of acquiring new business, knowledge and contacts.
And they are right to a certain degree. Networking events can bring you new business, contacts and knowledge but they can also be a total waste of time.
It is up to you to make most of your time at a networking event and decide whether you will go home with new business, knowledge and contacts, or whether you will just go home with two glasses of wine in your belly!
At Huss Group, we have some simple tricks for you to make your next networking events a success.
The knowledge part is the part which is very difficult for you to have an impact on. Normally, we rely on the host of the networking event to have a speaker or source of inspiration from which we can learn something new. All you have to do is to decide whether or not the topic is of interest to you. Even with a bad speaker and a lecture which doesn’t teach you anything new, a networking event can still bear fruit for you.
Why? Because the value lies in the new contacts and business opportunities.
Before attending a networking event, you should read the guest list (if available). You should know who will be attending and who might be interesting for you to meet and talk with.
Everyone who attends a networking event is there for the same reason – to meet people! This is why no one will reject your attempts at conversation. It is, of course, up to you to make yourself interesting to the person you are talking to. To do so, you should prepare a topic you wish to talk about with the person you meet. Furthermore, it is imperative that you don’t sound like a salesperson. A mistake that many people at networking events make is that they talk about themselves and what the other person can buy from them.
People love to talk about themselves. Use that to your advantage and let the other person talk. Show interest in the other person and what they do. You will never hold their interest if you try to sell them something right from the start.
Remember: It doesn’t matter if you have the best product in the world if the person you want to sell it to doesn’t like you.
Another simple trick for improving your success rate at a networking event is to shake hands and say the name of the people you meet.
We’re all familiar with this situation: You arrive at an event with 20/30 or even more people. You want to make a good impression by greeting everyone! You make your way around to everyone, shake their hands and say hello, and after 30 people, you can remember one or two names if you’re lucky.
Why not try a different approach? Go up to the people, shake their hands, say your name and greet them with their name, e.g.: Hello my name is Steven, nice to meet you John.
If people don’t tell you their name, ask for their name. You will find that people react totally differently because it has a psychological effect – people love hearing their name. What’s more, you will have all their names and a chance of remembering them.
Even with the best tricks and preparation, it is key that you are always yourself and go in with an open mind.