by Annette Naif
How many times have you heard, “It’s all about who you know”? I think I’ve lost count. Here are a few tips that will help you make sure you are going to the right events and making the right connections.
1. Focus on giving vs. getting.
Whether or not you believe in karma or that everything comes full circle, in the world of networking it is most certainly true! Make sure you go into every networking event with an open mind and that your expectations are not too high or unrealistic. You may not make the exact connection(s) you want at every event or the number of connections you want to make but remember it only takes one good referral and that could be from the small amount of people that you met. Instead, it is important to focus on giving to others. If you meet someone that you think you could help or know someone else that can – make the connection. Things will come full circle eventually – you need to give, give, get!
2. Be present when talking to people.
I know it is difficult but try your best to be present when people are talking with you. You are taking the time out of your busy day to attend networking events so make the most of them. Put everything else on the back burner for a couple of hours and give it your undivided attention. The less distracted you are the more you can focus on the people you are meeting and talking with. Don’t fade out of the conversation and start focusing on who you can meet next in the middle of a conversation with someone – we all tend to do that – finish up wit this person and move on to the next. Networking events can be an information overload so you need to be ready to take it all in.
3. Be honest. Don’t make false promises.
There is no need to overcommit. You want to make long-lasting and quality connections with people, so be honest! If you don’t believe that you would be a valuable resource for them, don’t promise them something you cannot provide. They will appreciate the honesty and good conversation more than being lead on to believe that you have something to offer them when in fact that is not the truth. For people who attend many types of these events, it is important to focus on quality versus quantity. You could leave with 100 business cards, but if a large percentage of those people were making false promises just to impress you, there may only be a couple of effective connections that come of that stack of cards. You would not appreciate having someone waste your time so you should treat them with the same courtesy.
4. Take action immediately.
When it comes to networking the follow-up can be just as important as the event itself. When you get home from the event take a few minutes to go through all of the business cards you collected and make notes on the back to trigger your memory and remind you of the conversations you had with different people. Over the next couple of days send emails to follow-up with the people you connected with. It is also helpful to connect with them on social media while your face is still fresh in their mind. In your message, include a quick reminder about you and your business as well as touch upon something you spoke about at the event. This will show them that you are serious about staying in touch and hopefully working together in the future.
5. Only go to events that excite you and go with the intention of making friends.
Be passionate, be excited, be ready to chat! There is no shortage of networking events to be attended, and if you put in the hours to find the right events, it will be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. You don’t want to be unhappy and bored, and the people you are meeting do not want you to be meeting you if you are in that mood. You make a much more lasting impression when you have a high energy level and are passionate about your business. You will appear much more welcoming and approachable and at the same time will have more initiative and motivation to start a conversation with someone new. Although you are attending on behalf of your business, at the end of the day it is a social event – so be social! It is important to be friendly and polite when talking with people but at the same time, remain professional. After a few events you will have the balance down and feel much more comfortable and it will just come natural.
Remember, it’s all about building relationships with people who know, like and trust you. Many of my current clients are people I met several years ago.
WE’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE BUT PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMPLETE INFORMATION: Event Planning Expert, Entrepreneur, and Coach, Annette Naif, Owner & Creative Director of Forté Events NYC and publisher of the E-Zine, “Forté Today.”
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About Forté Events:
Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing incorporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.
About Annette Naif:
Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events. Helping clients create their unique signature style that translates into a memorable experience has been Annette’s passion from the beginning. Annette spent a number of years producing events for Sebastian International followed by 15 years in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then she’s been running her own event design company, coaching other event planners and now leads the New York City branch of Forté Events.