Closer to the event date, we will circulate the full list of Executive Edge Day attendees.
Successful networking can help you to raise your profile, meet new customers, develop your knowledge or skills, explore new ideas, find investment, establish partnerships, and build a presence in other markets and source new suppliers. Given sufficient time and energy, your networks could become one of your business’s most valuable assets. Make a start by thinking about your business needs and make connections at Executive Edge Day.
The easiest way to break the ice at a networking event is to strike up a conversation with the first person you make eye contact with or with the first small group of people you come upon. Introduce yourself, name your company or affiliation, and don’t get bogged down with too many personal or professional details. Focus instead on remembering the other person’s name, and try to find common ground between you.
Once in a conversation, listen to others and show interest. By listening and helping others, they are more likely to help you. Remember: ‘givers gain’. Inquire about their line of work, how they happened to be at that event, the venue or any similarities you might share. As a general rule of thumb, “why” questions generate the most interesting answers and conversations.
Networking is NOT selling. Networking is about building relationships, getting to know, like and trust others. By all means, talk about your products/services, as you are there to raise the profile of your business, but sandwich ‘business talk’ between ‘small talk’.
The receiver of the business card is the one in control as they have the other person’s details. Also, if you have a poor memory, when agreeing a commitment at a networking event, write it down on the back of the other person’s business card. Ask permission to write on another person’s business card, though.
Do not spend lots of time at the event in the company of people you already know. By all means, have a quick chat with them (to build the relationship further), but spend the majority of your time getting to know new contacts. Do not discount people who, on the surface, have nothing in common with you. You just never know where a conversation may lead.
If you say that you are going to do something – do it. By not doing so, you will give the impression that you are not reliable. Others will not do business with people that come across as unreliable or do not stick to an agreed commitment.
Do not start looking around the room at others trying to spot someone. This will only get you a reputation of being rude and ignorant. Listen to them exactly how you would like them to listen to you.
There’s a lot of jargon out there, and these buzzwords block any kind of meaningful conversation or relationship. Your goal is for anyone (not just those in your industry circle) to understand and connect with what you’re saying. And if you find yourself stuck on the receiving end of a stuffy, jargon-filled elevator pitch, try to shift the dynamic with a simple question like “So what does that mean?” You’ll get into a more natural, and interesting, conversation.
If you have promised to call them on a certain date, make sure you do it. By not doing so, you will undo all the good work you did at the event.
Think of networking like any other professional skill. While others in the room may look like born networkers, they are likely just more experienced. It’s something you have to learn through trial and error. And the only way to improve is to just get out there and do it.