Learning to Love Networking
Networking sounds intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. It’s just about talking to people — about what you do and what they do. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, there will be dozens of people at the party tonight who fit into your area of interest. Just as you approach a stranger and introduce yourself, you can do the same thing to find out who is at the party. According to Raphael Sternberg, you can find out who the computer experts are at any local event. All you need to do is to dress up and approach everyone you see and ask them, in a friendly manner, if they are programmers or designers. You’ll immediately start getting referrals — and word-of-mouth advertising. Here, we will look at tips on how to learn to love networking.
1. Collect Kindred Spirits
A networking event isn’t just an opportunity to collect business cards; it’s also a chance to meet people who might become your friends. If you see someone you know, ask them if they’d like to introduce you to two or three interesting people — and then turn around and do the same for them. This will create a sense of unity and inclusion among the attendees.
2. Focus On What You’re Doing—Not What You’re Getting Or Even Giving
Most people think that networking is all about selling. But the most crucial purpose of networking is to make new friends, says Sternberg. One of the classic pitfalls is planning to meet someone to build rapport and then forgetting why you’re there. If you have a good reason for going to an event, it will be easier to concentrate on what you are there for — and keep your true motives hidden from the other attendees.
3. Give The Speech
If you are invited to speak at a networking event, make sure to think that you have to try and drive sales immediately. You will be giving your speech as a guest, and nobody expects you to make any money there. You can try out new ideas or share tips on how others can improve their business.
4. Prepare A Few Talking Points
If you are invited to speak, people’s most common mistake is picking up their cue cards and reading their speech, hoping to look like they know what they’re doing. This is all part of a networker’s nightmare. The more you practice with your talking points, the more comfortable you will be and the more relaxed you’ll see when speaking. You could also try a technique known as “VIP cards.” These are short, crisp talking points that sum up your goals for a meeting in six or seven seconds or less
5. Set A Quota
Too many businesspeople go to networking events with the idea that they are going to collect as many business cards as possible. If you’re in it for the numbers, you’ll spend time on relatively unimportant people because of their perceived importance. Instead, consider integrating a few people who will be vital to you and can help you move forward. “I would always try to set aside two people,” Raphael Sternberg says. “If I could establish a rapport with two people, I knew I was doing well.