Get noticed | How to start a networking conversation the right way
A key part of running a successful business is making the right kinds of connections where and when you can. Sometimes you can make a connection with people when you least expect it. Just as an example I have made some of my most successful connections when waiting in line at a festival, or casually drinking a beer at a networking function. I don’t think that it matters where you are – more that it matters what you say when you have the opportunity.
I know that people have said in the past that networking can be a bit like dating. You need to know that in order to build a long term relationship you have to be patient and to take some time to build your relationship in the start.
If you don’t want to wind up doing the walk of shame from a networking event you need to be able to follow some hard and fast rule so you don’t mess it up. After all – a lot of us are fearful about the idea of striking up a conversation with our peers – it can be a terrifying prospect. What if no one wants to talk to me? What if I get left alone? What if I say the wrong thing? I will just say here that there is no one ‘right’ thing to say, but there are certain verbal and nonverbal cues to keep in mind when you’re thinking about networking.
So without any further ado here are some of my top tips for networking success:
Make the right first impression
You need to make sure that whatever you do that the first impression people have of you is a good one. There are a number of ways that you can do this – principal among them being to have the right kind of meeting space. If you’re trying to business then you should be choosing a professional space. If you don’t have offices yet, then why not consider renting a virtual office with a company like Servcorp? They have a range of serviced and virtual offices with meeting and boardrooms available for you to rent. I have found that one of the best things I have ever done for my business is making the move to invest in a serviced office. It gave my business the professional edge that I needed to get ahead and to prove my position in the marketplace.
Know what to say and how to say it
A huge part of what you’re saying is your non-verbal communication. You need to know that how your body is positioned and how you move your hands and face make a huge difference to how people are going to perceive you. If you take the time to consider your nonverbal communication before you get started with your conversation you’ll find that you’re more relaxed and what you have to say comes out easier. Plan ahead what you’d like to achieve out of your conversation and then make sure you engineer things so that they come out the way you want them to.
Deliver your pitch when the time’s right
A key part of having a great conversation is making sure that you’re listening as well as saying all the right things. You need to know when to give your pitch, and if you’re prepared it’ll be a great thing. Make sure you talk about your mission, your goals, what makes your business a great option for this person and how you can help them, too.
Be sure to focus on making the best first impression that you can. Investing in the best possible office space (without breaking the budget) with a serviced or virtual office can make all the difference as far as impressing potential clients or business partners can go. As far as networking is concerned, remember to take your time finessing your pitch so that you’re a force to be reckoned with.