I’m a networker! 7 ways to release your inner networker
As a part of my role as a client relations manager at the Vancouver Marketwire office, I attend numerous networking events every month. Among them are association events for CIRI, CPRS, IABC, BCAMA and many more.
Networking, which I considered a formidable activity when I started my career at Marketwire, has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my work day.
Here are some of the lessons I learned over the past three years:
- Review registration lists of individuals or companies attending the event to be aware of who is there, target who you want to meet or connect with and to make the most of your time.
- Dress appropriately. You don’t want to wear a suit to a casual event and vice versa.
- Make sure you have enough business cards.
- Always wear the name tag on your right so that it’s directly aligned with your handshake.
- Keep a few relevant conversation topics in mind to instigate small-talk.
- Be early and leave late: This will help you maximize your networking opportunities.
- Engage: Don’t be afraid to approach people or judge by appearances. Until you talk to them, you will never know that the young guy wearing torn jeans and flip-flops is the CEO of of a major software company! Make an effort to reach out and introduce yourself — this is the whole point of networking.
- Listen: Networking is neither about you, your company or its products. And it’s definitely not about the hard sell. It’s more about the individual,the story each one brings to the table and how you might relate to them.
- Study the room: Recognize the quieter spots in the room. It is harder to create a meaningful conversation when it’s loud.
- Be helpful: Networking is all about gaining initial trust and finding ways to help each other. For example, introductions are considered very valuable, so make it a point to introduce two people who know you but don’t know each other. Following up with answers to questions or challenges attendees presented to you while networking is a fantastic way to gain trust and build yourself as a resource.
- Set reasonable goals: My networking mentor always reminds me: “Successful networking will result in at least one meaningful connection.” Although you are trying to create business relationships, it’s impossible to achieve that with every single person you talk to.
- Follow up: Connect with the people you just met. Ask them to join your LinkedIn network, send them a thank you e-mail for introducing them to a potential client or call to schedule that lunch date. Make yourself memorable.
I always look for helpful advice that can better my networking skills. What are your tips for successful networking?