Corporate gatherings, conferences, happy hours and cocktail parties are one of the few places you can kickstart a succesful business network. So how exactly do you do this? Here are a few tips on how to bring out your A game at networking events as you mingle through the crowds:
It's all in the handshake
The type of handshake you extend to a stranger speaks volumes about you and your intentions. When you approach someone new at a networking event, start your conversation with a firm handshake. Make eye contact, smile, extend your hand and introduce yourself. This gesture will be your first step in building relationships.
Win the name game.
Always remember the names of those you are conversing with. When you say their names, you help create a connection that they will appreciate and in turn give you the attention you deserve. If you’ve just met someone for the first time, use his name frequently in conversation. When you forget a name, simply extend your hand and say your own name. The other person will most likely introduce himself in return.
Don't just hand out business cards
Many people use a popular but ineffective approach while networking. Instead of building relationships, they collect and hand out as many business cards as they can. To form professional connections, approach new acquaintances with a genuine interest in their businesses, opinions and hobbies. When you initiate the conversation, ask open-ended questions to show your sincerity.
Find help through contacts
A personal introduction is a winning strategy to start conversations at networking events. If you’re a first-timer at an event and nervous, ask the host or an influential contact to introduce you to others. Most people will gladly introduce you to others in the room.
Tell your story
The best way to form connections in networking conversations is by telling your story. Everyone has a story to tell. To discover the other person’s story, ask the right questions. You could say something like, “Who is a special person in your life who influenced who you are today?” It’s a personal question and will help others to open up.