04 Sep ARE YOU A JERK AT NETWORKING EVENTS?
BOOST YOUR NETWORKING SKILLS FOR BETTER BUSINESS
If you’ve ever attended a networking event, you know exactly what we mean. There’s always that man or woman flitting from group to group, interrupting the conversation to add two more cents—even if those two cents are cheap or unnecessary. Not sure you’ve ever seen anyone acting that way at a networking event? Maybe you’re that guy. To avoid the possibility of being the jerk at your next get together, consider these tips for brushing up on your networking skills.
MORE ISN’T BETTER
We know; you probably have to psych yourself up before you enter the room. Maybe you give yourself a pep talk or run through your elevator pitch over and over again. The problem is, once you get inside with all the other people, you may overwhelm everyone with your determination to share your information.
People will see you coming from a mile away. You’ll have that fake smile plastered on your face or that expression of interest as you ignore everything they say. If your goal is to meet as many people as possible and give your pitch to every one of them, you’re the jerk. Instead, concentrate on a few people at a time.
You’ll get your chance to talk, but only if you take the time to listen to others. People know when every word they say goes in one ear and out the other. If they sense you’re not paying attention, they’ll tune out when you start to talk. Instead, concentrate on what your companions say. Ask intelligent questions. Provide feedback when they’re finished. This opens the door for you to speak and, if the person you’re talking to isn’t a jerk, you’ll receive the same respectful treatment.
BUILD LASTING RELATIONSHIPS
If you’re determined to see as many people as possible during the event, you’re not likely to make a lasting impression. By concentrating on a smaller group, listening to what’s being said, and providing feedback, you open the door for a true business relationship to form. Take business cards from everyone you meet and be sure to follow up. This is the key to forming a friendship that will benefit you in the long run. When you email or call, make your first contact about them. Offer to pay for coffee when you meet, or send over lunch for his or her team. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this generosity pays off.
Networking can be exhausting, but you’ll learn to enjoy it when you use these tips. In fact, you may actually look forward to the events because you know you’ll be making a few more friends.