We’ve all heard that going to events and networking is very important.  Meeting someone in person is generally a much faster and effective way to get to know him or her than through online methods.

There are some people who are born networkers.  I’m not Networkingone of them.  I didn’t like networking until I found a few strategies that helped me feel more comfortable and make them more fun and yes…rewarding.

Here are the top 7 strategies that I use myself, AND of course share with my clients, for enjoying (and getting the most out of) networking events.

  1. Smile.  Before you step out of your car or hotel room, take a deep breath and smile.  Purposefully “turn it on”.  Bring that smile into the room with you and keep it there.
  2. Rescue someone.  You’re not the only one who doesn’t enjoy going to networking events.  There is almost always someone standing off to the side or alone.  Go over to them and make them feel comfortable.  They will appreciate being rescued and you will have someone who wants to talk with you.  Then, if you see other people just standing around invite them to join your new group.  You’ll be looked upon as a connector.
  3. Don’t worry about what you’re going to say.  Learn about your new friend.  You can start the conversation by complimenting a piece of jewelry, mentioning the artwork in the room or asking them why they came.  Let them talk.  When the time is right the conversation will naturally turn to you and you’ll be able to share.
  4. Relax.  Remember that this is nothing more than a conversation.  Don’t try to sell.  Don’t try to impress, just get to know each other and be yourself.  People buy from people they know, like and trust.  Establish a relationship.  Get to know each other.
  5. Don’t try to meet everyone.  It’s not a competition.  Personally, I prefer to get to know a few people well than to have superficial conversations with everyone.
  6. Follow up.  It’s more important for you to get his or her contact information than for you to give your card to everyone you meet.  The truth is that very few people follow up after networking events.  Tell your new friend how and when you’ll be in touch after the event so that they expect it.
  7. Attend the same networking group regularly.  The more often you go the better you will know the people, the easier it will be and the more business you will get from it.

What are your favorite networking strategies?  Share them with me.