Is It Business Networking or Social Hour?
This Santa Barbara Jeweler has met many a new client at Networking functions over the years. Years ago I noticed how easy it was to talk to people I knew. In going regularly to networking events, I’d made a bunch of friends. The more we hung out happily together, the less effective these meetings were for our businesses.
I Changed My Ways, Now I Focus on Business
Now I look for people with a guest name tag and meet someone new. Then so I don’t have to feel rude when I leave them, I find someone to introduce them to. Then I move on. I do not allow myself to just chat with a friend or two. Nor do I monopolize the new person’s time. Though it would be pleasant for us both.
It’s Not Rude to Your Friends to Leave and Network Around
I tell my networking friends, “Great to see you. Let’s go meet someone new.” I get great smiles for saying that and we all break up the click and network more effectively.
The Power Of Introducing Someone New to Someone You Know
Never underestimate the power of introduction. Meet someone new, learn about them and find someone they will benefit from conversing to. It will make their experience with your group better and will reflect well on you as well.
Helping Creates a Lasting Impression
The best way to create a lasting impression on someone you’ve just met is to learn a bit about them and help them in some way, even if it’s just ensuring they have a good time and stimulating conversation in your organization.
Plan Ahead for Your Best Networking Experience
I will say that I do think about the networking event before I get there and make a plan to mix around and not get comfortable with business people/friends that I know. I have a list of small goals for networking success.
Three Small Goals for Networking Success
1. Meet the new person and find something about them:
a. That is new to you.
b. In common with your interests and share a few moments building your common interest in the conversation. (This makes both of you more comfortable in the social situation and with each other.)
c. That you like; their hairstyle, fashion sense, a funny comment they make, or a quirk of personality.
Now you’re ready for the next step.
2. I move the conversation to business:
After you introduce ourselves, try leading with a question like, “What is the coolest thing that happened in your business lately?”
You’ll usually hear a great story. You may both smile about it, and you might share a quick anecdote yourself in exchange.
Another question you might try is, “If you were mentoring a high school student who wanted to go into your industry, what words of wisdom would you share?”
People like to help others and it’s one of the most beautiful things about people and something that I love about them. Asking questions like this is a way to find out about the best part of the person in front of you. It helps you really enjoy your networking time. And it helps them relax too.
3. Give a Positive Response.
If they come up with something good, which they probably will, it’s totally appropriate for you to tell them how positively you feel about that.
I believe that though we greatly admire many people in our lives, we are sometimes hesitant to give compliments because some people don’t deal well with them.
I decided a long time ago that If I admired someone I’d tell them so. When I’m meeting someone new and go from daunted to comfortable and then to liking something about them, I’m not shy about telling them.
Leave the Network Meeting Feeling Like You’ve Accomplished Something
I find that using these various ideas and meeting some small goals at the Networking events I attend, leads to having a wonderful and productive time. I end up meeting men and women I want to talk to again. And experience has shown me that in using these ideas, you create a positive impression and you’ll be remembered.
What Works For You?
I’d love to read your successful ideas in the comments below. Happy Networking. Maybe we’ll run into each other.