So you are off to a networking event. You are nervous. You’re not 100% sure that you’ll actually turn up. You can’t think how to approach people. What will you say?
In this guest post, Melissa Kidd of Coaching Creatives reveals her top ten tips on how to Manage Your Mingling.
1. Be clear about why you are going
Let’s face it, networking is incredibly time-consuming. So, what will make it worth your precious time and energy?
2. Reduce your frog-kissing
Do as much preparation as possible. Ask for the guest list in advance and work out who you’d like to connect with – check them out online – can you contact them in advance to arrange a brief meeting at the event?
3. Don’t listen to your mother
Talk to strangers. Set your self a goal. For instance, when I started networking my target was to have three meaningful conversations.
4. Body talk
There are only a six groups of people in a room (learn more at my workshops) – look for ‘open’ groups and individuals.
5. Be a ‘go-giver’ not a ‘go-getter’
Always be thinking ‘how can I help this person?’
6. Pretend it’s your party
If you act like the host, people who are agonised at networking events will appreciate it if you make the first move, introduce yourself and make them feel comfortable.
7. Have an interesting and memorable introduction
Please don’t give your job title. Explain what you do and the results you deliver – you’re wanting a response along the lines of “Oh, that sounds interesting! How do you do that?”
8. Have some answers prepared for the standard questions you’ll get asked
Think about what you want others to know about you. You have the choice to tell them whatever you want when they ask “What’s new? How’s business?” and so on. What do you want to be remembered for?
9. Exit strategies
- “I really enjoyed talking to you… is there anyone here you’d particularly like to meet?”
- “I’ve enjoyed meeting you, but I feel that I’ve hogged you too long…”
10. Follow up
Keep your promises, review your goals – how many strangers did you talk to? How are you going to keep in touch: LinkedIn, Twitter, over coffee, at another networking event? What you do before and after an event is almost more important than what you do during it.