It all sounds so easy. You join a group, attend the meetings and get leads. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy! There are some things you just mustn’t do at business networking meetings if you ever intend to improve your business networking success.
1. Enter blindly
Research your contacts. Most professional business networking events send out a list of attendees and it’s easy to research them online with the help of social media tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. Websites and blogs are also great for filling in backgrounds. It helps you know who to approach.
2. Hug the walls
We all have to deal with the discomfort of introducing ourselves to total strangers but showing how shy and reticent you are will only work against you. Be prepared and walk in the room with confidence.
3. Stick with your mates
You’re there to make new business contacts, so do that. Say a quick hello to those you know and then network! Or if your mates are standing with people you don’t know, ask them to introduce you!
4. Fluff your Introduction
Everyone at a business networking event gets an opportunity to introduce themselves. It’s often a scary experience for new comers but remember that you can say anything about yourself and it’s often the more personal introduction that attracts people.
5. Burst into other peoples conversations
If you approach a group in conversation, listen for a while and then, when there’s a suitable gap, say hello and introduce yourself properly.
6. Be all business
Networking is a social way of developing business so don’t just stick to business. Try to approach it from a social angle and give of yourself as well.
7. Forget your manners
Even if you end up cornered by the most annoying person in the room, remember your manners! You never know when you will meet that person again or what contacts that person has who may be beneficial for you to know. You can extract yourself gracefully and leave a good impression.
8. Talk too much about yourself
One of the first rules of networking successfully is to engage but engagement starts with listening and finding commonalities between people. There is always time for another meeting.
9. Leave your mobile phone on
There is nothing more annoying at any event or meeting than someone’s mobile ringing in the middle of the guest speaker’s presentation or at the pivotal point of a new contact conversation. Turn it off!
10. Forget why you are there
By attending the event you are obviously interested in making new connections, developing relationships and broadening your knowledge base. Be specific as to why you are there and what you hope to gain from attending and keep this objective in your mind as you engage attendees.