In our most recent post, Networks Don’t Grow on Trees – Part One, we outlined three key steps to making the most of your next networking event.
Because building your network is so important, we have four MORE secrets to making your next networking event a success!
Make your answers relevant.
Once you have successfully initiated a conversation, be genuine in your response. Focus on what common ground there is between their professional journey and yours and you will create a meaningful conversation. Then, make your answers relevant to the person or their company. If you focus your efforts on finding the right time to rattle off your resume or insert your canned elevator pitch, you will be seen as disingenuous and shallow, a networker’s worst nightmare.
Don’t monopolize one conversation.
“Everyone is at the event to meet new people. Don’t latch onto someone so as to prevent them from connecting with others” Solovic advises. On the other hand, if you feel like someone is monopolizing your time, have an exit strategy ready. Jane Miller, founder of JaneKnows.com, a career-advice website, explains that there is an easy and polite way leave one conversation and move onto the next. Simply say ‘it was so terrific to meet you, but I am new to this group and I want to make sure I socialize a bit more.’ Most networkers will appreciate your sense of urgency and desire to make the most of the event.
Be aware of body language.
Nothing is worse than someone who cannot pick up on social cues. Emma Seppala, associate director and psychologist at Stanford University School of Medicine, says that eye contact is the easiest way to tell if someone is engaged in a conversation or not. Ask yourself: “Are they making eye contact and engaging with you? Or are they looking away? Eye contact is essential for empathy and it will tell you whether someone is interested in pursuing the conversation or not.” If you find someone is in fact disengaged from your conversation, you should move on. Don’t force a conversation.
Be present in each conversation.
“We may not realize this, but much more is communicated through our body than ever through our words,” Seppala notes. “Because of our brain’s innate ability to interpret other people’s body language so quickly, we gather information through our eyes much more quickly than through our words. For this reason, again, be authentic and be yourself,” she continues. It is important to go into a networking event with a high level of self-awareness. If you are scanning the room for bigger fish, people will notice. To that end, if you are being perceived as someone who is just trying to work the room and collect business cards, other networkers will see you as inauthentic and self-serving and keep their distance. Bill Rosenthal, CEO ofCommunispond, a firm that develops and coaches communication skills, advises that you “don’t glance around the room as you’re talking with them because it’s off-putting. If you no longer want to talk to someone, simply say it was good to have met you and that you hope that person will enjoy the conference.”
Finally, remember that the event is just the beginning. If you lay the right foundation, you will be able to build upon the relationship after the event.
The Team at AllCountyJobs.com