Networking events can seem like a speed-dating situation – you are trying to get as many interactions as possible in a short period of time. However, rare is the case when a quality match is made, because the focus is on the quantity of interactions – not on making a great impression nor having the best interactions possible. That’s why it’s important to know what to bring with you to networking events. When you are armed with the right mentality and the right equipment, for lack of a better term, getting quality interactions bearing fruit is an eventuality, not a happy accident. Here’s what you should bring to your next networking event.
Athletes often say games are often won before the clock is ever started. One team walks into a building ready to go, and another team is just hoping to survive. Similarly, there are people walking into networking events overcome with insecurities – they’re not as qualified as people at the event, they don’t know anyone, etc. These anxieties will undermine the ability to make great connections. Instead, what’s needed is to get the mind right. Here’s why – if the mind is right then great energy is projected This energy brings people in, it’s attractive, and the best part is when people are captivated by that energy, they remember conversations with greater accuracy.
There are a few tips to get the right energy. The first is to have a mantra. Banish negative thoughts by having a single slogan running through the mind about how all the people in the event are equals, or go through a list of accomplishments to add personal qualifications to the event. The feeling of belonging and the confidence it brings helps even the most seasoned networkers make new connections and deepen existing ones. Without the barrier anxiety presents, business professionals are open and engaged; they don’t feel as if they must break down a wall. This positive energy leads to great conversations and memorable interactions.
One of the best ways to make sure the energy is right is by delivering value. Each person brings with them different experiences and qualifications making them uniquely qualified for delivering value networking events. There are several ways to deliver value, but one of them is using the 20% rule. This rule is simple – ask of the other person only 20% in return for what is given to them. To make it more concrete, if $100 of value is given to someone, only ask for $20 of value in return. Right away, it’s clear there’s value to the other person. A simple ask like a call in the following week after the other person has been given ideas helping solve a problem is a great way to facilitate this exchange. If the problem can’t be solved, a referral to someone who can solve the problem is a great idea as well. Make it feel organic, and not tied to something else. This is a great way to plant a seed in someone’s head at one of these events.
The beauty of business cards is they tell so much about a person on such a small space. The recipient of a business card learns all about the value of the person giving it. Some tips for a great business card include keeping it simple – have the name, company, position, and contact information on it. Don’t make the business card too busy, and have the card reflect the industry. For example, an architect would want a business card that has a blueprint type of feel to it, while an artist might play with the shape of a card. A person in finance would have a basic, to-the-point business card. When taking risks with the business card, always think about the visual impression of it. Don’t put in all that work getting someone interested in a business to provide a card visually contradicting all the groundwork that was just set out.
Build Emotional Connections
Every salesperson knows the decision to buy is made when an emotional connection is forged. This is just as true with networking events. People are likely to call those back who’ve built a connection. Don’t go to networking events looking to just get business, go there to build a connection with people. Connections are made through authenticity. It’s impossible to fake empathy. Asking someone at a networking event about their successes and their challenges is a great way to build that connection. Find common points of success or challenge. Brainstorm solutions and make referrals. If that challenge has already been overcome, give the other person the solution, or at least a roadmap to it. These are simple, effective ways to build emotional connections. The emotional connections make the encoding of who someone is and what they do that much more concrete in the brain.
Getting great results at networking events is as simple as being authentic and finding ways to deliver value. Use these ideas and others to make networking events a success @ NETWORKLEADEXCHANGE.COM.