A few years have rolled by since I went to a presentation on networking by Robyn Henderson. I still successfully use these eight strategies to great advantage. Let me share them with you.
- When you get an invitation – whether it be for a conference, seminar, networking event – don’t decide if you want to go solely based on what the speaker /topic will be. Instead think about who is going to be there:
This will change your decision process and make these functions much more attractive because of whom you can meet, network with and learn from.
- People will think you’re Interesting if you ask them Interesting questions. Here’s a trick: move from past to present to future questions. For example:
- Past – So you’ve been with the company x years. What changes have you seen?
- Present – What challenges do you have?
- Future – What trends do you foresee?
- If you’re speaking with someone and want to move on, look for another person/ group nearby. Say “Oh they/that person looks interesting. Let’s ask them to join us”. Then act like a host and introduce whom you’re with stating their name, and an interesting piece of information about them (as a talking point). As they start to converse, make your exit.
- Help them remember your name better
Studies show people often forget the first 15 seconds of a conversation so they have already forgotten who you are. At a natural pause in the conversation casually drop in “You may not have caught my name earlier. It …”
- The follow-up note
Maybe the single most important thing you can do in networking is sending a quick note the next day. This stands out as few people bother to do it. It shows that you took the time to write a personal note and that you not only remember the conversation but really valued it. It also serves to remind the person of who you are and what you do.
- It’s easy to get to know your host on the Internet
Only enter a room once you know the background of your host and any guests you want to meet. This takes just a few moments on the Internet but gives you the leading edge (plus something to talk about).
- IT’s easy to find the hot topics in the industry of your host online
You are never going to look boorish when you ask knowledgeable questions about your hosts business.
- Want to be interesting and knowledgeable?
Read the paper every day, in hand or online. Even if only for a few minutes and you only read the lead paragraphs.