Does the idea of networking make you cringe? It’s an essential way to expand business opportunities or job prospects, but many professionals dread it. These tips can help you initiate business relationships with ease.
1. Nail the introduction.
If you know something about the contact, approach him or her directly with an introduction. Give your full name, and stick to open-ended questions that invite conversation. If you’re meeting someone new, offer a polite general comment—perhaps about the event—and introduce yourself after a few exchanges.
2. Make friends with a few.
Focus on bonding with a handful of individuals rather than working the entire room. You’ll build stronger ties and minimize pressure on yourself.
3. Network differently.
If the standard networking event is not your scene begin to view networking as an everyday activity, such as a conversation a plane, at a volunteer event or in a yoga session. Even if you only have two minutes, try to make a connection with each person you meet by learning something about them. This will help you remember them and gives you something to ask about at your next meeting.
4. Play copycat.
In a subtle way, synchronize your vocal tone and expressions with the people you talk to. People are drawn to similarity, so slightly mimicking your conversation partner will help him or her feel more comfortable.
5. Follow up.
After a good conversation, ask for the best way to keep in touch. Follow up within 48 hours to make the best impression, and reference your discussion to spur memory. After the first interaction, one follow-up per month is a smart rule of thumb.
Still not a networking fan? Read this blog post from Dardis Communications on how to make networking fun!