Are you confident when it comes to networking? Truth is few of us are. We worry about the impression we give of ourselves, and about what we should or shouldn’t say.
When you arrive at a networking event it often seems as though everyone knows each other and you’re the odd one out, doesn’t it? Yet what you’re seeing is confident networkers in action.
You can become one of them, and here are a few tips which will help.
- Plan your greeting
If you are going to shake hands, do it properly, with a firm grip that gives the impression you can be relied on. If you prefer a smile as greeting, make it genuine, with a nod to each person, looking directly into their eyes. The easiest way to start a conversation is by introducing yourself and opening with a question. “I’m X from Y company. What brings you to this event?” In this way, you encourage the other person to speak and you learn about their motivations and needs. You’re doing the groundwork for building a possible connection.
- Know what you’re going to say about yourself
At some stage, you’re going to have to speak about yourself. The strange thing is we know this will happen, yet we wing it, unprepared. It’s much better to know what you’re going to say so you can get the results you want.
A great formula is this:
- Your name and business
- What you do and why
- A question such as,” What do you love most about what you do?”
In this way you’re sharing the basic information, adding a personal touch with your ‘why’ and opening the conversation to others so they tell you what drives them. You’re sharing information, starting a conversation and gathering information about your networking peers.
- Practice saying it
Believe me; there’s good science behind this. You’re probably familiar with the term ‘muscle memory’ in relation to activities, but it also works here. Speaking out loud helps you perfect what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. The repetition helps you embed the words in your brain so even if you’re nervous, your brain will never go blank.
There’s more to it, though. Studies have found speaking out loud can “help memory recall, confidence, focus and more.” It’s worth trying, isn’t it?
If you want others to like you and trust you and value what you have to say, you need to convince them that you are someone that is worth listening to. The best way to do that is by sharing a little information about yourself and showing a whole lot of interest in the person you’re speaking with.
How did your last networking introduction go? Did you make the right impression when you introduced yourself? I’d love to hear any tips you could share with us based on your experiences so please tell us about them in the comments below. It would be great to build up a treasury of networking tips here so everyone to use.