Whether it’s the RSVP or the goodbye handshake there are certain aspects that you need to keep in mind so that you’re able to show off the social skills you possess.
Networking is one of the most powerful and useful tools that can guarantee the success of your business. However, doing it properly is easier said than done. The golden rule of networking is to carefully choose the people with whom you network. This is the main reason as to why networking counts as a success plan. Yes, entrepreneurs show tremendous creativity, initiative, possess leadership skills, and are extremely prepared in their fields of expertise, yet most of them lack the soft skills and that holds them back from breaking through the glass ceiling.
Actually, a study done by Harvard, Stanford and Carnegie Foundation shows that 85 percent of the success a person registers is based on his or her soft and personal skills.
Whether you’re a master at networking or you’re new at it, brushing up on the basic features will definitely help you leave your connections with a favorable impression. Understanding, knowing and owning the networking process will help you both with the attraction and retention of customers and will guarantee success for you and your company.
1. RSVPs should be honored at all cost. In most cases, businesses consider that their absence from an event will go unnoticed if they don’t feel like attending at the end of a work day. So they decide to skip the networking for a better option. However, if you RSVP’d “yes” and you decided to skip the event shows that you cannot keep your word on bigger issues. If you obtained a spot at the table, you are professionally obliged to attend.
2. Before attending a networking event, make sure you have an established plan. You’re not part of the guest list at a business event just to fill in the empty chairs in the room. The host invited you because he or she believes you have something valuable to bring to the table. Moreover, he or she is offering you the opportunity to showcase your expertise. Therefore, it is only professional that you do your research before attending a networking event. You could Google the speaker, do some research on the key players who will attend or even look at what they tend to share on social media so that you can find common interests. While this doesn’t take much of your time, it can pay off when you impress a business owner beyond their belief via your familiarity regarding that person’s media article or promotion.
3. Don’t forget to smile. Yes, the usual way, by showing part of your lips and teeth while you crinkle your eyes. This shows the person you’re talking to that you’re actually engaged in the conversation by sending out a vibe of authenticity. A person with a cringe on his or her face, or one that offers a tight-lipped smile is perceived as uptight, uncomfortable or even disinterested in the situation. Use your body language to your advantage so that you can break the ice and send a signal to the other person that you’re a confident and self-assured entrepreneur.
4. Before you actually take part in the networking event, make a habit out of eating. Instead of wasting time by spending time in the buffet line, eat at home and make contacts. That’s why you’re going in the first place.
5. When the networking begins, you should do two primary things: mix and mingle. You probably already know that the conversation should revolve around the other person. Moreover, listening should be 60 percent of the time, while asking questions and engaging with the other person should take up to 40 percent. To ensure that you don’t forget the person’s name, make a habit out of using it in the conversation, just in case you have to introduce said person to someone. Avoid having a conversation with only two people while this may become harder to interrupt. You should walk up to either a group of three, or to one individual. Introduce yourself, ask whether you can join, engage for a couple of minutes and move on to other people you want to meet.
6. Keep your cell phone on silent mode. Technology is one of the best tools an entrepreneur possesses. The absence of it makes some entrepreneurs feel lost, but you shouldn’t walk around the room with your smart-phone in your hand. Avoid checking texts, sending emails or even taking calls. Keep your eye on the prize; you’re here to make a connection and to offer your undivided attention to the people standing across from you. Rather than just putting it on vibrate, just turn it off. If you’re waiting for an extremely important call, make sure to check your phone in private instead of in the middle of the event.
7. Your right hand should always be free. Hold the plate of appetizers or the drink in your left hand. Also, carry the purse or bag on the left side as well. This will ensure that you’re always ready to meet other entrepreneurs, thus showing that you’re more than eager to greet them with a handshake. When you’re fumbling with foods, having to change hands and wiping off, people get confused and they prefer to avoid you rather than offer you the professional handshake you’re waiting for.
8. Avoid the temptation of closing a deal. A networking event is the best way in which you can grasp someone’s interest while also leaving with a favorable impression. Just consider it a way which offers you the possibility of opening the door to a future relationship. Become overly aggressive or desperate, you’ll get exactly the opposite of what you aim to achieve, i.e. making a positive impression.
9. The way you greet a person is the way you should end that conversation. If you shake someone’s hand when you’re meeting him or her, don’t forget to extend it when you have to say goodbye. By walking away abruptly or by offering no formal closure you will send mixed signals to the other person. He or she may even believe that something went terribly awry during the conversation.
10. When the event is at its end, make sure you say goodbye to the host and complement the person on the awesome outcome. This is a sure way to let the host know you attended and actually stayed a more than reasonable amount of time. Also, don’t be the first that arrives, or the first one to leave.
Therefore, when you attend an important networking event, remember these tips so that you can avoid any common missteps.