Many people are great at networking online but have difficulty when it comes to face to face networking. It can be intimidating meeting new people, especially if you don’t know anyone. Following these simple key tips on networking offline will make you a professional in no time at all.
Introduction- Don’t be shy, walk up and introduce yourself, shake hands, and always have eye contact
Conversation– Limit yourself to 5 minutes when speaking with someone. A lot can be said in 5 minutes and there are a lot of other people to talk to.
Elevator Pitch- Use your elevator pitch but then be yourself, not a salesperson. This is your chance to learn about this person. Once you use your elevator pitch ask what about them.
Help- If you feel there’s a connection, ask how you can help them! I know, you’re thinking, “I’m here to make connections and promote me.” If you ask how you can help them and follow through 9 out of 10 times they’ll reciprocate and you’ll be remembered. (What goes around comes around) Connecting them with people you know can help them and vica versa. This is a way to expand your influence.
Business Cards- Always have a supply of business cards. Give more than one and tell them the other is for them to share, of course reciprocate and let them know if you can refer them you will.
Take notes- Speaking to someone about how you may be able to work together can be forgotten once you get home. Write a note on the back of their business card of what you talked about. Keywords do well here (guest blogger for TBC, local women’s group, product review 4 toy car)
Dress- You want to make a great first impression so know the dress attire for the event. Jeans can be dressed up to look trendy, but you wouldn’t wear jeans with a t-shirt. Never ever wear sweats unless it’s a pajama party. If you’re the CEO of your company, dress like it. Remember YOU are your brand. Be neat and clean, after all, you are a professional!
Buddy System– bringing a buddy or a friend with you makes can give you the security you need. Create your plan before the event. Will you separate and come to the rescue if you see your buddy has been talking to someone for a while? Will you walk up to people together and help promote one another (don’t forget about asking what you can do for the person you just met)? If you have a sound plan, your networking will go smoothly and you will come out successful!
Follow Up- Don’t just go home and drop the cards in a box or drawer. You worked hard at the event and now you need to follow up with the people. Send an email or call and let them know how wonderful it was to meet them. Inform them of the idea you had to work together or who you’ll be connecting them with (This info should be noted on the card). If you were introducing them to someone, send that email asap. It’s best to connect/follow up the next day but you do have a couple days to do this. I wouldn’t wait longer or chances are you could be forgotten.
Do you have a key tip on networking offline?