1. Networking is not about sales. It is about being genuine and building trusted relationships to see how you can help one another. Introduce people; become known as a helpful person.
2. Be prepared. Have a clear idea why you are there and who else might be there.
- If someone asks ‘How may I help you’, have an idea of what you need!
- If someone asks ‘What do you do’, have some good statements to establish credibility, be proud not boastful.
3. Wear your name badge on your right hand side.
- Most people are right handed and lean into someone when shaking hands. If your badge is on your left then they might not be able to read your name badge.
4. Repeat your first name when you introduce yourself.
- Introduce yourself as “Jon, Jon Powell”. No this isn’t to make you sound like a spy! Repeating your name will help them remember it. Don’t forget to smile and make eye contact.
5. Have open body language; invite people into your ‘group’.
- There will be closed groups and open groups. Target open groups and be an open group.
6. Ask open ended questions.
- Ask Who, What, Why, When, Where, How. This opens up discussions and lets you be a listener.
7. Be yourself
- Don’t try to act, refer to your own experiences, hobbies and interests. Be authentic and try not to keep apologising.
8. Know the etiquette.
- If you want to end a conversation with someone say “I’m just going to get a drink, I might see you later” or “I’d like to introduce you to x”.
- If you want to continue a conversation say “I’m just going to get a drink, can I get you anything”.
9. Have some professional business cards to exchange with people where you can help them or they can help you.
- Don’t thrust cards into everyone’s hand, give them selectively.
- Your card should say who you are, what you do, how to contact you and should have space for people to write on.
10. Follow up on contacts quickly and efficiently.
- Book time in the diary a day or two after the event to follow up referrals, strike while the iron is hot.