Most people feel they need to attend business networking events, but are scared, hang onto the wall, talk to a few inappropriate people and come away horribly disappointed.
Here are 12 pointers to help you improve radically:
1. Know why your there. Is it for the social side, to develop sales or to raise your profile. Then ask the question “Can I achieve that here?”
2. Set low expectations – aim to get NO MORE THAN 2 business cards or useful / relevant contacts
3. Treat every interaction as a “Conversation of Possibilities”. Go with an open mind, not a targeted sales pitch.
4. Check seating plan – Sod’s Law of Networking. If there a dinner, you are likely to be sitting next to the person you spend time talking to prior to the dinner, wasting an opportunity.
5. Leave residual energy – give more than you take. good Karma as @guykawasaki would say.
6. Be interested in them, ask open questions
7. Badge on right lapel – so when you shake hands that is where their eyes go
8. Getting rid of someone; Introduce to someone else, or say “I need to move on”
9. If know nobody in the room; Take your time and look around, look at groups for opening, join but don’t stop the conversation, introduce your self in a FEW SHORT WORDS – make an impression
10. If you want them to take your card, ask for theirs
11. Take a pen to write notes on the back of their card
12. Follow-up .. do what you said you would. SO FEW PEOPLE DO. This one simple act wil make you stand out.
Enjoy the experience, don’t focus on the results. Finally – you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the princes.