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How To Approach People at Networking Events

You have heard this a million times, if not more, “One of the key strategies for every entrepreneur is to build, maintain, and nurture a network.”  For many this comes naturally. The gift of gab some would say.

Although approaching others at a networking event, should be more than just about gabbing. You should have a clear and concise plan for how to work the room.

With Affiliate Summit East 2018 coming up in just a few months, it’s important to have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed so to speak when it comes to what your overall strategy is regarding networking the event.

To make the most out of your time at Adtech, or any other networking event, be sure to employ the following tips:

Have a topic of conversation ready.

No! We are not saying to have this weird candy bar in your pocket, ready to share.  We are just saying that it’s best to avoid the interview setting, which is what happens when the conversation goes a something like this:

You: “So what do you do?”

Them:  “I do this.”

Them: “What do you do?”

That is more on the lines of fact sharing, not an insight into what the other person might have to offer you intellectually.  It’s certainly not connecting or networking.

Instead, have a clear topic of conversation in mind before approaching someone.

Start with a handshake.

The type of handshake you extend to someone has the ability to speak volumes about you and your intentions.  When approaching someone new at a networking event, start off on the right foot (er hand) with a firm handshake and unwavering eye contact.  Accompany both with a welcoming smile. This type of nonverbal communication will help you to build a good rapport before word one is even uttered.

Make yourself interesting.

You should strive to memorable when you are meeting new people, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is by coming off as interesting.  Possibly tell a story as it relates to the conversation, charm them with your wit, and of course have plenty of business cards on hand to leave behind with people that  you have met.

Win the name game.

Personally I’m horrible with names.  I might very well forget my own someday.  However, when it comes to business contacts remembering names is an essential skill to the art of conversations.

When others hear you repeat their name, it gives them a sense of connection to you and of course the conversation.  They are also left with the impression that they felt important to you. Be careful though not to overkill the name dropping, because that can quickly come off as creepy.  It often helps me to repeat their name silently to myself as if to anchor it into my memory bank.

At the end of the conversation after they are out of view, write their name on the back of their business card in your own handwriting and add a little note that relates to the conversation and/or their business.  This will hopefully help to jog your member about who they are when you study your cards later.

Show genuine interest.

Speaking of business cards, many marketers I’ve come in contact with over the years at the networking events use a popular but ineffective approach to networking.  Instead of using the opportunity to build relationships, they just go around collecting and handing out a many business cards as they can.

To effectively form professional connections, you should approach everyone with genuine interest in their business, interests, thoughts, and niche.

When conversating attempt to as open-ended question to both show sincerity and continue to keep the discussion flowing.

End the conversation with grace.

The last moments of a conversation will define how people remember you.  Try to make the ending of the meeting solid and memorable, instead of being strangely abrupt which could be construed as rude.

Take a moment to make the final eye contact with the person, so that it doesn’t seem as you are running away.

Networking events are a fabulous way to market yourself and your business. Take this valuable opportunity to develop new relationships.  

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