The ART of NETWORKING
By The Buzz Conference
With Conference and Convention Mode always part of our yearly schedules, we can all use some helpful tips on how to stay focused on the true art of networking.
Who doesn't love networking! Our favourite part about NETWORKING, is making introductions between people with a common goal. It is a part of the business that comes with an abundance of opportunities.
Effective networking is the magic link to building a thriving business with like - minded professionals. Building confidence, trust, loyalty, and reciprocative referral business are important to having a business that is profitable and sustainable for years to come.
Fostering the right connections requires effective planning.
Here are 10 tips to get your ‘ networking for value ‘ started:
EGO - Bonus Tip
Check the negative attitude, leave ego, at the door. They are never invited.
What are your commitments to networking? Don't just show up, grab a drink and expect to be loved. You have to create an itinerary of people you wish to meet, conversations to have, and a plan to execute. It's time to strategize, get set and go!
Attending conferences, networking events, and summits are a lot of fun. Some attend to meet potential clients, REALTORS®, referral partners or influencers. Others attend to learn, share, meet up, get creative, motivated, or inspired. Have a clear understanding of your WHY? There is a whole process to establish, so start now. This is what will make your presence effective and lead to opportunities. It's a great practice to write down your goals.
Keep the exchange fun and interactive. Ask relevant questions when it comes to building conversations of value. What, Who, When, Why, and How. Do not focus on YES or NO questions. Create real conversations. Ask questions that open up discussions and dialogues, which hold meaning. Be INTERESTED, not always INTERESTING. Pay attention, and remember, your listening skills are important too.
Be able to articulate with significance. Keep certain words, hand gestures, facial expressions out of conversations. Keep tone professional with energy, yet don't over-do it. Eye contact is everything. Keep your mobile phone absent too. Successful networkers articulate and communicate with confidence because they are fully prepared. Make people feel special by, repeating their names when introduced Always have a strategy to introduce others to one another is also important.
DITCH THE PITCH
Keep your business cards in your pocket, until the very end of the night. Offer to those you feel you want part of your network. No one wants to be SOLD at a networking event.
DON'T TAKE OVER THE CONVERSATION
STOP BLABBING. People can go on and on about how great they are, and if a drink is in hand, it is not a good combo. Make conversations about others. Ensure there is a good balance of people engaging. If someone is rambling on, excuse yourself from the conversation or ask a question to another person 'how do you feel about that?' Get people engaged. They are probably thinking the same thing. Be a conversationalist, but don't be chatty.
RESIST TALKING NEGATIVE, ESPECIALLY ABOUT SOMEONE
Don't be rude. Spread kindness. Even if you are not sharing in the conversation, yet are present, that makes you just as much a participant in the conversation as those engaging. The best thing to do is either leave the group and conversation or simply say 'that person is not here, so this conversation is not relevant and extremely unprofessional'. Not enough people do this. Stand up for others. See how that works for you! GET RESPECT.
SMILE AND REMEMBER THAT FIRM HANDSHAKE
Be genuine. Be friendly, yet firm. Simple, yet charismatic. Fun, yet engaging. Always remember to end the conversation with something memorable. People will always remember those that make them feel special, it is paramount to networking. Building relationships is also part of creating advocates who will share you, your business, services, passions, and your value. Great for referral business. Smile often.
Referrals are everything, therefore follow -up is crucial. How do you plan on following up with everyone you have met? Who do you feel would be a great addition to your professional and personal sphere? What is your strategy, how long until you follow up? What platform will you use to follow - up? What is your call to action? So many questions. A consistent follow-up strategy will help to build a great referral business for years to come. Connections are an important part of building, so ensure you connect with the right people to foster the right relationships. Don't forget to add & list each to your CRM or Database.
When it comes to successful networking and essential relationship building, keep in mind that it is about representing your best possible self in a room filled with like - minded professionals. Four words always come to mind, follow the rules of authenticity, transparency, competency and relevancy. You have to be your best and most genuine self. How well can you serve the needs of others and how will you make people feel in the process.
A strategic process will align you to building a strong foundation with the right people who care about the success of others. I challenge you to create a Network List for each event you plan to attend in the next 90 days. Select the top 5 to 10 people you want to meet. Then, research them and begin the building process. Oh, and have fun along the way!