I am a Networking Newbie. It takes time for me to open up with people – so whatever Networking events I used to attend I would be either stuck with some known set or spend my time studiously poring over some promotion material.
Networking events are typically like a stage where you have to perform. For some the ” act ” comes pretty easy . For others not so , I being one those.
So for some time now I have been trying to create a facade of confidence and reach out to people. Give a greeting . shake a hand , be curious.
I am no where nearing perfection in this ” Art ” but there have been some learnings and some definite – “no-no’s” which is I want share here.
Networking is Not Selling
If you happen to meet someone in Networking event avoid selling or making a pitch. The events are great places to make contacts and some of these new contacts can even go deeper in time. But trying to make a sale in a Networking event or pitching your services leaves a bad taste. You are most likely to loose the contact. Appreciate that the other person is also there to Network to find a solution or to make a sale. He might not be too excited about listening to your pitch. He will be polite yes, but thats about it.
Few is More
If you make a new contact and are able to understand him/her better – it will be much more useful than saying hi , bye to a 100 people in the event. No one is going to remember. I deep conversation with even 2 contacts can be more useful in the long run.
Not being Fully Present
This kind of follows from the previous point. If we are busy shoving our cards to as many people who come our way – we are not likely to be listening. Our goal – to meet as many people as possible has a flipside – you can do so but end up not having proper conversation. And, it is only meaningful conversations which can lead to meaningful contacts and relationships.
This is one crucial aspect which most people miss out on including myself. There is no point in meeting in a seminar and not following up with a mail or some kind of note or a phone call. To convert a contact to even a business acquaintance a followup would be a bare minimum. I deal would be a hand written note or Card saying thankyou or a Nice to Meet you. Good way to make the person remember.