Top Five “In-Person” Networking Tips to Create a Connection and Lasting Impression
Most of us would agree that face-to-face networking is an art and is not necessarily easy. Today tips on social networking are a dime a dozen and for good reason, it works - but what happens in real time, face-to-face is just as (or even more) important, read on for networking tips from Alana Horn.
If you find yourself at a conference or even floor time at your store, remember these five tips for connecting with peers, management, and customers.
- Ask a Lot of Questions, But Not Too Many: Find out all about the person your speaking with and don’t be shy to ask questions that are not necessarily just about business. Do feel out the situation and the person before you go asking personal questions but know that if you ask the same questions and talk about the same topics that the other hundred people have spoken about, you are less memorable in your networking moment of fame. You also want to be aware of the situation and know when the conversation is at its end. This takes practice so, the more you do it, the better you will get!
- Perfect the Handshake: How do you know if you have the handshake thing down pat? Well, try to make it firm but not too strong. You do not want to hurt anyone. Don’t be sloppy, floppy, sweaty, or show any insecurity in your handshake, which leads to the next point: make eye contact.
- Make Eye Contact: When engaging in conversation you must always make eye contact. If you want someone to listen and trust you, your body language, and eye contact are especially important. If you feel that this is an issue for you, then this is definitely an area that you need to work on. If you feel too overwhelmed to walk up and engage in small talk with eye contact please just save it for next time – and practice with friends in the interim.
- Be Yourself: Authenticity goes a long, long way. You don’t have to completely put on a different persona in business networking events as you would at a friend’s dinner party. Be you. If you have professional experience you understand where the boundaries are naturally.
- Be Positive: Whatever you do, do not insult anyone or anything when conversing with a stranger. It’s a total turn off. Nobody appreciates negativity and criticism unless you feel compelled to give your honest opinion. When doing so, please be the least critical and most objective as possible. If you find yourself in one of these situations, just laugh and tell them they are funny, then walk away fast.
Putting it All Together
Know your strengths, know yourself, and have confidence. Everyone has different assets. Reflect on your strengths and maybe even ask your peers what they think your strengths are, so that you can better understand how others interpret and receive you. Use your strengths and capitalize on them – whether it’s knowledge on a certain subject, or that you can make people laugh, or strike up a conversation with just about anyone, use those strengths to your advantage.
Also know that networking is not one size fits all. It’s not about doing the same thing every time—people are different, interactions are different, situations are always different so you need to learn to go with the flow and don’t worry too much. It takes time to get comfortable with this so get out there and practice!
Alana Horn is the National Director of Business Development for Atomic Reach (LINK http://www.atomicreach.com) . Alana has extensive experience working within the publishing community both from a print and digital perspective. Her unique perspective on all things content and audience engagement makes her an excellent resource for all things content marketing.