Although lead generation is a huge possibility when networking, there are numerous other potential benefits from networking. Even though people you meet at an event may not need your services, they may know someone else who does- these people will always be important contacts and relationships that are worth investing both time and effort into.
While there is always a networking event around the corner, those who attend may still be nervous time and time again. While the practice of going to networking events helps people become more comfortable with the environment, there are still key behaviors to know that will assist while making connections.
Learn How To Listen
One of the most important aspects of any conversation is the ability to actively listen and give your full attention to the other person speaking. The reality of networking events is that people want to talk about themselves, which means that the majority of people are talking not listening. By stepping back and actively listening to the people who are speaking, you will stand out from the crowd. Active listening is a skill that few people possess, and one that is hugely valuable, especially when trying to foster a new relationship.
Ask Open-Ended Questions To Help The Conversation Flow
Many people hate to attend networking events as they don’t feel confident and this kind of interaction could be out of their comfort zone. Some may even feel inadequate when it comes to small talk as they do not want the conversation to end on an awkward note. One of the best ways to face this particular problem is to ask open-ended questions. Think of these as questions that cannot easily be answered with a yes or no answer. Yes or no answers kill conversations, and are exactly the type of questions you want to avoid asking. Try to use questions that begin with the words, Who, What, How, When, and Why. These types of questions allow the other person to talk about themselves and build their own confidence while reflecting positively on you for asking these questions from the start. It makes you come across as someone that is thoughtful and easy to talk to, which is a good foundation to build a business relationship.
Get People’s Details And Then Follow Up
Once you have identified the people who you developed an interesting relationship with, make sure to follow up with them after the event. Whether it’s connecting with them on LinkedIn, sending a follow-up email, or setting up an in-person meeting, it shows that you took notice of them and are interested in what they have to say and do. If they accept your follow-up and participate in the continued interaction, then embrace the good impression you made with confidence.
Learn To Be Selective and Then Nurture Those Relationships
Although you may end up with over 10 contacts after a networking event, the key is to be selective and choose the select few who you feel could teach or advise you the best on how to grow your company. Trying to build a strong relationship with 10+ people at a time is hard to commit to, as you will be spreading yourself too thin and run the risk of not being able to nurture any of those relationships properly.
Networking Needs To Be Mutually Beneficial
Whenever you attend any networking opportunities, be prepared and have a strategy. It is essential that you understand the reasons for your attendance, and what you hope to gain as a result of attending the event. However, it is also just as important to make sure that you are bringing something to the table. Put yourself in the shoes of the people you are trying to network with, how does interacting and potentially working with you benefit them? Good relationships need to be beneficial for both parties. People can become obsessed with what they can gain from any relationship that they forget to offer anything in return. The best method of approaching any networking event is to think about how you can help others, rather than what you can get personally from the event. When someone is friendly and helpful, human nature dictates that we will want to reciprocate. By making an effort to help others, you drastically increase the chances of other people wanting to help you.
At Novel Coworking, we are strong believers in networking, and regularly hold networking events in some of our many properties. Although there are many benefits of being an entrepreneur, the reality is that you cannot do everything on your own, which is why you need to invest in networking events. If you are interested in visiting one of our many unique offices, visit our website to quickly and easily book a tour at a location nearest you.