Try These Tips Next Time You Network
With the launch of CES once again it is official, the 2014 convention season is in full swing. For all of you hardcore networkers, you plan to attend more than your fair share of events this convention season. We have been getting a lot of inquiries on how to make this convention season the most effective one for you Las Vegas networkers yet, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of it.
1. Start a Conversation.
Easier said than done, we know. A great, traditional lead-in is the “Hi, How are you?” then once they answer have something interesting to say. A question or compliment are amazing ways to break the ice. The follow-up question is the most important one as it makes sure the conversation goes somewhere, and doesn’t just run flat.
2. Find a Common Interest.
During the conversation make a connection to the person you are speaking with. Prior to the event effective networkers know to do their homework. Afterall, you are at the same event, therefore, you have a common interest. It’s all about quality here. It is your responsibility to get past the surface level and get to know other people. This will not only help you to remember them, but will also help them to remember you.
3. Exchange Contact Information.
Only after you have established a connection with someone should you ask for their business card. Networking is not about collecting business cards, it’s about creating meaningful relationships, and if you simply wouldn’t remember them tomorrow, it doesn’t make sense to collect their information today. Of course, if they ask for yours, it is only polite to ask for theirs. Write a short physical description of the other person on the back of the card, to help you remember them should they contact you. Nothing is more embarrassing than not remembering someone when they reach out to you.
4. Keep it Moving.
The desire to “not be rude” can make it challenging, especially for women, to exit a conversation, If you have ever felt stuck in a conversation choose one of these to get out of it. Remember, you only have so much time at any event, so try to limit conversations to less than 10 minutes.
– If a conversation has lasted 10 minutes and you want to keep it up, set a time to call or even have a follow up conversation later. An easy “I have really enjoyed speaking with you, but there are a lot of people here I want to meet with. Can I call you and meet up for coffee on Monday around noon?” Always give a date and tentative time, don’t leave it open ended.
– For the conversation that has fallen flat a simple, “It was so nice to meet you, I look forward to speaking with you later,” ought to get the job done. Chances are they wanted out as bad as you did.
– To the individuals that you feel would be able to refer business to you a polite exit is as simple as “It seems like we can definitely talk more about doing business together. Can I email you next week to set up a future conversation with some of our colleagues.” This tells them you mean business and respect their time.
5. Walk Away and Repeat.
Before I enter any networking event I like to have a goal for the event. Following the 10 minute maximum I generally shoot for 5 new introductions an hour. This gives time to get a drink, and reset between conversations. The volume is less important, however, having the goal will likely keep you on track.
Good luck to all of you Las Vegas networkers this convention season. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.