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Improve your networking skills in 8 Steps

June 11, 2012

Improve your networking skills in 8 Steps

With Business Network SW events coming up on 13th June in Exeter, 20th June in Bristol and 27th June in Taunton I thought I would share some tips I found on Only Uncle.com from entrepreneur.com

One I’ll say about networking whether you’re a regular networker or someone who is new to the whole networking world is, it’s not all about you!

This content is from www.entrepreneur.com

1. Be on time or even early. It’s almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. As a first attendee, you’ll notice that it’s calmer and quieter – and people won’t have settled into groups yet. It’s easier to find other people who don’t have conversation partners yet.

2. Ask easy questions. Don’t wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Don’t forget to listen intently to their replies.

3. Ditch the sales pitch. Remember, networking is all about relationship building. Keep your exchange fun, light and informal – The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy.

4. Be ready to introduce your services or product. If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company.

5. Share your passion. Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.

6. Smile. It’s a simple – but often overlooked – rule of engagement. By smiling, you’ll put your nervous self at ease, and you’ll also come across as warm and inviting to others. Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation.

7. Don’t hijack the conversation. Some people who dislike networking may overcompensate by commandeering the discussion. Don’t forget: The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.

8. Remember to follow up. It’s often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you’ve had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you’re interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.’

You can find the full article here.

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