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Here are some tips to survive and thrive during networking events.
- Set yourself an achievable target of speaking to new people i.e. 5 or 10 new people at an event and see it as an opportunity to meet new friends.
- Don’t be held back by fear of rejection, failure or change. Understand these feelings and address them to move forward. Believe in yourself.
- Strong networking involves strong listening skills.
- Don’t be put off by one networking event. There are different network styles and sizes. Attend many to find the ones that suit you.
- Don’t sell to people, but be conversational. Don’t dwell on speaking about yourself. Ask others what they do. If people are already in conversation then ask if you can join them. Never hard sell.
- If you know who is attending then plan who you want to speak to.
- Networking is more successful if you continue to attend long term. This builds relationships.
- Follow-ups must be done straight away. Block time out of your diary to do this.
- Be yourself.
- Approach first. Many people at these events will be as uncomfortable as you feel. Make the first move and break the ice.
- Ensure your business cards are in easy reach.
- If you attend with a colleague then split up. Otherwise, it is tempting to stay in a comfort zone.
- Pre-plan five key points about your business.
- Remember every person there is important in some way, therefore never dismiss anyone as unimportant. It can be surprising what contacts and influence they may hold.