This time of the year people go to many New Year’s receptions.
Many times we hear people complaining that they are never home because of these events and that it doesn’t bring any results either.
These are a few tips to pay attention to:
1) Prepare yourself
- Ask yourself the question: “Why am I going there? Who do I want to meet?” Use LinkedIn and Google or Google Alerts to look up the people who are going to attend. Another conclusion might be that you better go to another event or switch with a colleague.
- If it is mandatory that you are present, but you don’t really want to be there, look for ways how it might still be interesting to you. You might have to go looking into details, but that’s better than not doing it. If you have the attitude of “I don’t want to be here”, people will sense that and avoid talking to you, making it even harder for you.
- Go together with someone else to get through the “20 minute acclimatisation period” and feel more at ease. Also agree UP FRONT to not stay the whole time together. Tell each other what would be an interesting person for you to talk to (a specific name or function/profile) and look for ways how you can introduce each other.
2) At the event
- Have a host(ess) attitude: look for ways how to help other people. You can do this by introducing them to other people, by listening to them and by offering them a drink or snack. Remark: you can easily do this without being the host(ess) yourself. The benefit is that you will feel more at ease and that other people will appreciate you more.
- Be prepared to answer the question “And what do you do?”, but be the first to ask someone else this question. Why? Because you create goodwill with the other person and will discover which examples and stories about yourself (and the organisation you work for) will appeal the most to the other person.
- DON’T SELL! Remember that the power of networking is in the second degree. You need to be able to tell people what you do so they can talk about you to their network. People won’t do that when you sell to them.
- Ask someone who is in sales or is a business owner: “How can I recognize a good prospect for you?“. Ask others: “How can I recognize someone who might be interesting for you?”. Then help them to paint a clear picture for you. If you haven’t done this before, do it and see what the reactions of other people are.
3) After the event
- If you have met someone with whom you want to continue the business relationship, make sure you follow up. The ROA (Return of your Attendance) is in what you do afterward. To make sure you actually do this, make some time in your agenda BEFORE you go to an event.
- But what do I talk/write about? What many people don’t think of is that the follow up starts DURING the conversation. That’s where you find out what you have in common or how you can help someone else. And then it becomes easy to follow up.
Have fun (and success) at your next networking events !
PS: these are tips from the networking book “Let’s Connect!” and from the CD “Let’s Connect at an event” (in Dutch: netwerk boek “Let’s Connect!” and “Let’s Connect op een evenement“). Download your free light versions!