Are you attending a networking event? It can be intimidating if you don't know what to say and do.
Here are 10 tips to help you survive and thrive at networking events:
1. Arrive as early as you can. You'll avoid the angst of walking into a room full of strangers. Even better, you'll avoid having to look for a seat while everyone stares at you, or has to move over to make room for you at the table.
2. When you meet someone new, stand up and shake their hand. Maintain good eye contact.
3. Prepare a few questions to get the conversation started. It might be about the event or venue, or how often they have attended in the past.
4. Bring lots of business cards, and have them available. You'll avoid having to rummage through your bag or pockets trying to locate them.
5. Exchange business cards at the start of the meeting. You can place the cards you receive in front of you, in the order that people are sitting around the table.
6. Be prepared to introduce yourself and your services. Plan your introduction so you aren't caught like a deer in the headlights.
7. Prepare any materials you will present, including notes from the last meeting.
8. Be curious about the other people at the meeting, and be a good listener. You'll pick up interesting ways to connect afterwards.
9. Look for ways to help others. You may not need the product or service of someone in the group, but you may know someone who does. Go out of your way to help them. You never know when they will do the same for you.
10. Follow up afterwards. Nothing happens without follow up. Arrange to meet for lunch or coffee, or at one of your offices.
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From Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression