Networking Best Practices Part II: Networking

Welcome back to our three part blog series all about networking! If you missed the first blog, it was all about preparing for the big day. You can check it out here. Today’s blog, however, is about the networking day itself. You may be dreading it, but we hope these tips help to make it a little easier and worthwhile.

Networking: It’s the Big Day!

  • Make the most of small talk. Many say that you should avoid small talk whilst networking, but for me, I’d highly recommend it! You can find out a lot from people by just asking questions and it also shows them that you’re human. You may have heard this famous cliché, however it’s very true and I certainly stand by this when I’m networking – people buy from people!
  • Similarly, another rule that I like to implement is listen more than you talk. Ask questions to encourage the other person to share more about themselves. This is how you learn the most about them, but also the way you can form a relationship. Try to also avoid talking about just work, after all, they are human!
  • Use their first name a couple of times within the conversation. By using their first name within the conversation, not only does it create a sense of familiarity, but it also will help you to recall their name after the event.
  • Body language is everything! Ensure you’re focused on them only, that you look interested and that your body language is open. Don’t cross your arms for example, or allow your eyes wander to other stands or conversations.
  • Ditch the elevator pitch at exhibition events. Now I know I said you should prepare an elevator pitch, but for events that don’t have dedicated time for this pitch, it will seem a little out of place. So instead, just opt for small talk and asking questions. After all, these people have paid rather a lot of money to be there and display their business, so don’t go up to them and start selling your business to them. Listen to what they have to say and ask the right questions to find if they have any current downfalls that you can help resolve.
  • Spot those who are alone. This is a great way to enter into conversation at those less structured events such as talks. It can be very daunting walking into a room where people have already formed groups and are having in-depth conversations about the current economy. So rather than trying to insert yourself into this group, try approaching those who are on the outside. This is how all of those groups started, and I’m sure they’ll be very grateful for the company. Again, one of my best leads was won through this method, as you’re able to form a strong and more personal relationship with them, before others come along.
  • Don’t be afraid to wrap up a conversation and move on if it’s not working between you. You are both there for a purpose with limited time and a lot to see. If you’re struggling with sparking the conversation, it’s okay to carry on (but in a polite way of course).
  • At events with dedicated elevator slots, be the last to pitch. You may want to just get it over and done with, however it more advantageous to go last. It gives you time to listen to others’ and allows you to refer to them in your pitch where appropriate.

By being human and not a sales-y robot, you’ll make genuine connections with people. Although they may not purchase from you themselves, they may refer you to their connections instead.

We hope you enjoyed this blog, and that networking events seem a little less daunting now. Please do get in touch to let us know how the event goes, we’d love to hear your feedback.