Have you ever asked yourself the question “Would I network with me?”. I am making the assumption that you understand the importance of networking for your business. Every networking event I attend I meet at least one person that I have no intention of building a relationship with and here’s why.
Which networker are you?
Talker or Listener? I am a huge talker and am always one of the most visible at an event. I do that by design because visibility attracts business. However, when I meet someone new I make sure the conversation is completely focused on them. I use the 80%/20% rule. I listen 80% and I talk only 20%. My goal is to learn more about them than I tell about me. I am actually testing them on how they handle our first encounter. If they are more focused on handing me their card and being a “Vomiting Vera” about their business then I will probably trash their card and not follow-up. I want to connect with people who I can build a mutually beneficial relationship with.
Dress up or Dress down? There is some leeway on this subject depending on the type of event you are attending BUT consider branding yourself by what you wear. I see a lot of the same people at events and I identify them as professionals because they are always dressed for business. Of course, there are typically a few dressed in jogging suits, baseball caps and baggy jeans. These are people I would probably not do business with or refer to my clients. Consider standing out at these events with your attire. I have a business associate that attends every networking event with a fedora type hat. He is in the promotional products industry but can be identified across the room. As for myself, I wear bright colors because that makes me easily identifiable.
Eye contact or eye wanderer? Making eye contact during your conversations indicate you are focused on what that person is saying. There is nothing wrong in looking around the room but keep it to only 20% of the time. Concentrate 80% of your attention on the person or group you are speaking with.
Stander or Mover? You may not have an outgoing personality but don’t stand in a corner or sit in one spot and wait for people to come to you. Moving and working the room allows you more visibility and the ability to end a conversation more gracefully when it is time to move on. Moving helps you meet more people. If you want to be a stander then stand by the food table because everyone will coming to that area eventually. The idea is to keep the flow of people going.
Next time you attend a networking event, ask yourself “Would I network with me?”