After perfecting your elevator pitch, you’re ready for the Networking Tips from a Networking Pro, our very own Event Marketing Specialist, Nicole Wheeler. See what Nicole’s Top 5 Networking Rules and Secrets are and practice them at Nothing But Networking Event, presented by Trapp Technology in partnership with the NBA Phoenix Suns.
Top 5 Networking Rules from a Pro
1. Promoting vs. Networking: Know the difference.
Solely promoting you and your business is blasting untargeted messaging to the masses in hopes to pique interest. Generalizing your message takes away the opportunity to provide real value.
If the old adage “quality is better than quantity” ring true for you then change your mentality from promoting to networking. Networking is simply building partnerships. In order to do that, you have to find opportunities to connect on a personal level and create a relationship that’s mutually beneficial.
In any impromptu or scheduled networking event, you serve as a reflection of your profession or company. Be sure to represent your company, and even deeper, represent what the experience will be to work with the company. Outside of the product or service, what will the support and customer care experience look like before, during, and after sale? As the first touch point, you are building the foundation of your company’s reputation.
Delight them with your personality, and they’ll actively listen to what you have to say.
3. Ask yourself, “Is this the right time and place?”
Not all events are created equal. Some will be brief, others exhaustive. Some will be during lunch, others will be after hours. Some will be casual, others will require suit and tie.
Research the event prior to abide by dress code. When you’re at the event, asses the venue, social norms, and general pace of the environment and adjust your behavior and demeanor accordingly. I always give points for originality, but you don’t want to memorable for the wrong reasons.
4. The early bird gets the worm.
When it comes to networking events, being “fashionably late” is out of style. Arriving early doesn’t only demonstrate your discipline in the lost art of punctuality, but it actually has a key advantage: getting to meet and befriend the event organizers.
Trust me on this one. A brief introduction and quick chat with one of the volunteers or organizers can get you a ton of insider info on the scheduled programs, venue, and sponsoring company. Why is this information important? Because you now have perfect ice breakers and points of conversation with any attendee.
It’s like talking about the weather – we don’t think about its significance but we’re all thankful to have this trick in our back pocket when it comes time to break awkward silence or segue into a real conversation.
Just as valuable in any networking event is staying late. When the crowd dies down, attendees who stay have already warmed up and given their elevator pitch dozens of times. They are warmed up and are used to engaging in conversation. Take this time to network more effectively with attendees and sponsors with significantly less competition.
5. Fake it ’til you make it.
Check all your insecurities at the door and enter the room with confidence. Everyone is on the same boat, so don’t let inhibitions get in the way of potential connections. Remember, more important than selling is building a relationship. So be prepared (read this article thoroughly). Be smart (bookmark this article). And be genuine (keep it real). It’s that simple.
Before you know it, you’ll be a Networking Pro!
5 Networking Secrets from a Pro
• Follow up with your contacts within 24 – 72 hours – stay top of sight, top of mind.
• Prioritize and create contact list A, B, C, etc. – correspond accordingly.
• Change the channel based on how they prefer to be contacted: email, phone, social media, etc.
• Send a personalized note (handwritten for bonus points) – you’ll be amazed at how memorable and impactful this simple act can be to your network.
• Keep in touch. Connect via social media and engage appropriately. Invite them to the next networking event you’re attending, (Hint: check ticket availability for Nothing but Networking right now).