Networking is not something how you hand-out contacts to many, but it is how you build a long lasting and good rapport with the people that can lead to future opportunities. No matter what profession you’re in, Networking is a key to success for any entrepreneur. We all know that networking plays the best role in targeting new opportunities and growing your business.
Nowadays many networking events are held to connect with your potential clients and get introduced to each other for future collaborations. Not many of us have the guts to be a part of these events being shy or introvert, but some of them are born networkers.
In today’s time, this has become such an important part of any business that you cannot just avoid it. Even an introvert has to learn this if he wants to make his position in the market and grab the opportunities. You can learn this by introducing yourself to strangers at networking events, social gatherings etc.
Here are 10 tips to break the ice at networking events:
Pre – Event
- Know people before the networking event
It becomes easier for you to a network if you know one or two points of contact at the event. You can try to connect to the event planner, who can help out making you feel comfortable at the event and also introduce to a few participants to start a conversation with.
You can also try to connect with few of them through social media and start a conversation before the event. This initiative will make you feel comfortable while you enter the event and will avoid “talking to a stranger” situation.
- Prepare an Elevator Pitch
If you have ever become speechless when someone asks you any question, you know this can lead to an awkward situation hence develop an elevator pitch that explains you, your role and your business in few sentences.
Prepare the speech in such a way that it gives opportunities to new contacts to clear their doubt and throw question on you and your product. This preparation can also help you to play safe from the awkward situations. Keep rehearsing your pitch or speech until you’re satisfied and confident about the result.
- Come on or before the arriving time
When you enter the event early then there is a huge room for you to approach the fewer set of people present at the event. You can have one-to-one interactions with many of them present there, also some mutual acquaintance can then introduce you to a few more people. This introduction can also lead to future business prospects.
- Wear your brand
Wearing your brand whether in a custom printed t-shirt in your brand colors and logo or having badge printed with your logo and in a custom, a shape can lead to conversations. It will create an interest in the participants around to connect and get to know your brand.
- Have a neutral attitude or appearance
You must carry a suitable normal attitude while entering the networking event. Behave casual and try to appear approachable and willingly approach others.
The easiest way to start the interaction is to offer a smile while you come in eye contact with anyone and avoid showing any signs or physical gestures. You can also serve yourself a food or a drink so you have time to look around and survey the scene.
At the Event
- Participate in the on-going contest
You must take active participation in all the contests running at the event which will anticipate your presence at the event. The is the best time where you can “get to know” many of the present at the event.
- Introduce yourself
Introducing oneself directly with the complete detail help people to know you and your personality well. If there is any presentation going on then you may ask question or comment on any subject you are comfortable with. This will lead to more interaction between the two and make you both feel comfortable with each other.
- Complimenting others
Passing compliments to the other one are always the best and natural way to start the interaction with. Everyone likes getting praised in some of the other ways. You can compliment on anything like their looks, attire, shoes, glasses etc without going in detail.
- Let others introduce themselves
If you are an introvert, you have a better listening power hence let others speak. While having a conversation with others in the event, let them speak everything about themselves a few of them are good at speaking their heart out and you’ll there stand as someone who values others.
- Wear your smile and be pleasant
A smile is one of the important tools to make others comfortable and approach you. Everyone likes the company of a pleasant person and will be willing to take the first step to initiate a conversation or continue a conversation that you begin with them.
The key to breaking the ice during the networking events is to establish a great rapport with the other person and let him feel comfortable. At the event, leave people with good impressions for better future prospects.
However, don’t let the steam that you started during the event waive off once it is over. Plan out and connect with all the participants that you personally interacted through a call, an email or on social media.
Be proactive and don’t waste time waiting for them to connect with you. Also, reconnecting within three days of the event is very crucial to get a response. After that people usually get busy with their own important work and may not feel it important to reply to you.
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