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7 Ways To Maintain Your Professional Network Without Annoying Your Con
Find out more about the team who makes The Art of Charm podcast here! If you dig the show, please subscribe in iTunes and write us a review! This is especially true if you tend to be a bit of an introvert. So how can you get the most from networking events to expand your business connections and grow as a person? Without resorting to reciting lines parrot fashion, feel comfortable talking about yourself and what you do. Practise in the mirror or with someone you know.
Have a few icebreakers and opening lines up your sleeve — humour is always good. Also consider the way that you ask someone else about themselves. And give some thought to your personal appearance and dress appropriately in accordance with the type of event you are attending. Prior to attending the event set yourself a minimum target of how many people you will interact with.
This target may depend on the type of event and the volume of attendees, so setting this figure as a percentage may work best. Turning people into numbers does feel a bit weird but as an introvert I know having a goal helps and would probably make me more likely to talk to more people. As your confidence grows look to increase the minimum amount of people you talk to the more events you attend.
Learn to control and know when to exit the conversation. Have an exit line strategy prepared beforehand and follow the art of assertive communication. Remember, you only have a limited time to connect, so spend as little time as possible with time wasters. Identify those who you would like to network with and do some prior research on their personal and professional achievements.
Many events will have a Facebook group, Slack group, twitter hashtag or even a dedicated mobile app. Complementing them on their work and weaving in talk about their hobbies and interests works really well. For those with social anxiety or who struggle with larger crowds, simply showing up to the event a little earlier than the advertised start time may allow you to interact one on one with other early attendees in a less hectic environment. Getting there early may also give you the chance to mingle with the event organisers. Work out what works for you and do that. If you are more nervous early then arrive a bit later but if you prefer smaller crowds then plan to get there early.
Further to showing up early, actually putting your hand up to help with organising or running the event is another way to gain maximum traction from your networking experience. If I have a purpose to be there I feel a lot more relaxed. Build rapport with others before going in for the kill and throwing business cards at people. Networking is about establishing meaningful connections with like-minded people. A mistake some people make is trying to use every introduction as an upfront opportunity to sell something or push an agenda.
Be a conduit for creating meaningful connections by finding opportunities to help people. Great relationships are built upon trust, and using this approach is a great way of doing this.
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It pays to be prepared when it comes to swapping contact details with other attendees as you busily network around the room. So make sure that you have quick access to your preferred social media apps on your phone Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn at the very least to connect quickly and easily with others.
You can weave it into the conversation too, ask them what social media apps they like. Pick up your phone, install Snapchat and start using it. Then read a few articles on Snapchat or get your friend to show you. Related : The ultimate guide to marketing on the second most-used social network in — Snapchat.
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Whether to hand out business cards is a bit of a hot topic in I think they can be useful, although for a younger social media focussed demographic they may not be as important. This is far easier to manage than walking around with your wallet or purse stuffed full of cards and inevitably losing half of them. When networking there are a few simple communication strategies you can use to make a connection when chatting with others. Make the person you are talking with the centre of your attention. Smile, nod, maintain eye contact, avoid distractions, actively listen, ask questions.
The best thing you can do though when networking is to listen.
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