Tips Towards Networking Effectiveness

August 11th, 2014:

8am to 5pm, work, work, work. Seems like we are chained to the desk day in and day out, slaves to our job responsibilities until the end of the day when the chain leash becomes a little longer and we can actually get out and hopefully see the sunshine. With all of this hard work how can we possibly expect ourselves to get out and promote the company at networking events? The trick? It’s all in your perspective and here are a few tricks I use to keep the smile big and the charm charming.

1. Gauge your attitude in a positive way.

  • Your attitude reflects in your speech and how you act. If you don’t want to be there, because you think the event is something you are being forced into, then everyone will be able to tell and things won’t go as smoothly. Try to find things you enjoy, even little things about the event that can get you in a good mood. (You’re getting out, meeting new people, thank god for open bars. Whatever you need to lift your spirits.)

2. Relax and be yourself.  

  • People like to meet people. No one is trying to spend their night talking to a sales pitch robot and none of us like having someone push a sale onto us that we don’t know, not to mention we just got done with work. Start out friendly and casual, should the opportunity come along to sell your services great, if not, you might gain a friend and they may ask about your services in the future.

3. Try not to go it alone.

  • Sometime we get stuck in the swamp of despair, feet kicking, negativity raining down, no way to get into a better mood. Luckily we have friends that can tell us our line of thought really isn’t getting us anywhere and metaphorically slap us back into reality or at least try to drag us out of the swamp. Not only that but it’s especially good when you have two people on the networking floor amplifying your sales potential and confirming you are both doing a stellar job.

4. Review and validate.

  • So you went to the event. How did it go? What did you do right and what could have been done better? Look over the business cards you got and realize, regardless of ‘hot leads’ right now or not, you are getting out in the community and promoting the company in a positive way. Validate yourself and anyone else who went so you have a positive feeling about this event and future meetings you might go to.

5. Reach out as a friend and don’t be scared to connect.

  • So you got some business cards and had some great conversations, now what? LinkedIn is a great way to make professional connections and still have a friendly edge.  Send out the invitation to connect and in the message put something personal you talked about at the meeting. This will let the other person know you were listening to them and the meeting wasn’t all about you. Once you establish the connection try to setup a lunch meeting or onsite appointment to show them more of what you do. You can even go so far as to ask them what they are looking regarding services. If it works out great! If it doesn’t work out at least you are honing your skills and working towards making those leads and hopefully you made a new friend along the way.

While there are lots of ways to make networking events work for you I have found that these basic principals have done well for me. One of the most important things I apply to every situation is building rapport with someone first and then seeing if your services can help them and pitch your company at that time. Not every person you meet is going to be the perfect lead but you never know who someone else knows and the more people you meet the more opportunity will open its doors to you.

 - Executive Administrative Assistant Cammi Bailey, Goddard Inc.