Imagine yourself in a busy networking session. You are exhausted from smiling and handing out business cards and you have accumulated over 100 cards from people you are not even remotely interested it! Sound familiar? It’s time to develop your networking skills!
Start to network with charisma, charm, sincerity and professionalism to see results! People who are better at networking build relationships from the moment they deliver a handshake. They are people you are sincerely interested in getting to know. Being an ace at networking increases your contacts, business leads, and can help generate business for your company.
There are 3 tools that can make you a great networker.
The first is identifying networking events that you are genuinely interested in attending. Second, develop a catchy, interesting and powerful introduction about yourself. Third, build rapport through non-verbal communication skills.
1. Attending the RIGHT Events
Attending every conference to pass around business cards and fill your name cardholder won’t benefit you. Attend events that interest you! For example, if you are a senior manager at a bank, attend networking events supported by coaches or corporate trainers. They are not in the same industry, but they work parallel with managers of different companies. Find events where you can add value to people you meet, and visa versa. Often, people only attend networking events in their industry, where they know 50% of the participants and the rest are competitors.
2. Develop your Introduction
Develop a 30 second introduction about yourself that you can say at networking events. This is a must have networking skill. It should be catchy and interesting, and state your basic background details – name, profession, where you work, and a special detail they don’t necessarily know about you. Remember – say something that will cause your audience to want to get to know and engage you in conversation. For example a private banker can easily bore someone to tears describing what they do in detail, but if he only had a few seconds he can say, “I make my clients millionaires.” This introduction is also called an elevator statement and it’s a chance to promote yourself with a value added statement.
3. Building Rapport
The following are basic steps to take to strengthen communication. When speaking to someone SMILE and look them in the eye. Good eye contact is crucial for building communication. Make sure your body is not sending a message that you are closed off and not interested. Take note of where your hands are placed, if they are folded across your chest – what message are you sending? That you are not interested? Listen when people are speaking and show sincerity and concentration.
Use these tools to develop your networking skills and you will be a networking pro before you know it!