Does the thought of networking make you break into a sweat? Feel intimidated by unfamiliar faces? Here are some tips that will help you feel comfortable, radiate professional strength and confidence and establish valuable business connections all in one. Good luck at your next event!
No one is out of your league
If you are intimidated by people who have achieved a lot, then look at them as people instead of a list of achievements. We all tend to undervalue our own achievements, don’t! (See ‘Know how you add value’)
Focus on planting a seed
Your ultimate goal may be to establish a strong relationship that benefits you both, but the first step is to make a valuable connection. If you focus on ‘planting a seed’ rather than selling, you’ll take the pressure off and act more naturally.
Effective communication begins with listening. Everyone likes to tell their story. Ask questions about the other person’s business, needs and challenges and listen attentively. He or she will feel understood, and you get the information you need to see how you can make a difference to the other person’s business. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Be aware of how you make a difference to your customers. When you truly believe that people benefit from connecting with you, your confidence will shine through and you will look credible and knowledgeable.
Before the event, imagine yourself networking successfully. Make your pitch interesting, memorable and short, and practice it at home. Also imagine your facial expressions, how you speak, what you wear, your body language. If you know people that make networking seem easy, imagine yourself as them. Take a deep breath, put on a bright smile and go for it…
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Dale Carnegie, author of ‘How to make friends and influence people’