Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

December 8, 2008

Festive Parties: Ideal Opportunities to Network!

Festive Season Parties: Ideal Opportunities to Network?
Seven Ways to Work That Room!

  1. Arrive in good time. Slipping in just as the party is beginning is bad manners and gives other guests the wrong impression of you right from the offset. Most of all it also adds to your stress and anxiety (and you want to minimise that, right?). Plan to arrive 15 to 20 minutes earlier. This will give you time to catch your breath and gather your thoughts. You may even have a better opportunity of meeting the host and breaking the ice with them. Don’t be scared to tell them that you are keen to meet many others. You’ll be surprised at how relaxed you feel after telling someone that!
  2. Be prepared for small talk. Have some interesting topics to talk about and share. If you regularly read the newspapers and other relevant industry journals you will keep in tune with current or local interest affairs and give you something interesting to contribute to the conversation.
  3. Develop your “Verbal Signature™”. When somebody asks “So, what do you do?” this isn’t where you bore them to death with the entire contents of your C.V. Rather it is a brief synopsis or sound-bite of the kind of work you do and who you do it with. A good verbal signature will pique interest and move others to ask you for more information. (Why not download the free 20 minute audio training programme – and workbook – on developing your verbal signature. It’s available to all subscribers of The Marketing Edge!)
  4. Share the attention. As much as you like talking about you and what you do, you will be far more effective if you take turns both talking and listening. Allow others to tell you about themselves and what they do. Ask open questions and actively listen. It also gives you the opportunity to clarify whether this is someone with whom you want to explore business opportunities further.
  5. Move around and meet people. Your main purpose should be to meet and interact with lots of new people. If you arrive with a colleague don’t hide in their shadow. If they are talking with people you aren’t familiar with, get introduced, otherwise move around the room and talk to others. Likewise don’t get stuck for the entire event talking with the same person. Tactfully mention that you would like to continue circulating and meeting people. You could even ask them to join you as you circulate. If they present an opportunity that you would like to explore further, set up an appointment immediately and then move on.
  6. Follow up. This is the number one area where so many folks fail – they just don’t have an efficient follow-up system in place. It only takes a moment to make a call or send an email to say how much you enjoyed meeting. If you promised to call, then call. Not within a month. Not within a week. Do it the next day. If you made any promises then for goodness sake make good on them.
  7. Build bridges, don’t burn them. Perhaps you spoke to a number of people with whom you don’t see an immediate business benefit. The event was still fun wasn’t it? Nurture those new contact and build a relationship (that is the greatest point of networking, isn’t it?). Keep in touch. Down the line you may have just the product or service they need. Or you land up needing them. They may even refer you to others in their wider network that are looking for exactly what you offer.

knocksockscover1These tips are an edited extract from my e-book ‘Knock Their Socks Off Networking’ available to purchase in my online store.

©Vanessa Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: Vanessa Deakin works with Professional Service Executives frustrated and disappointed with their current growth rates, marketing efforts, and business profitability. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes she helps them to skyrocket their results and break their own best records. To learn more, sign up for her e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit our website at www.zee2a.com.

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