27 Nov How to Have Successful Networking Time
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This phrase has a great meaning for the business world. Meeting new people is for sure meeting new opportunities. Your talents, abilities, and experience will never take you anywhere if nobody knows you exist. Networking events are a valuable starting point to promote your business, but also to gain many new ideas and potential partners on projects you do.
No matter is it a free entrance or you have to pay the admission fee for participating, network events in the travel industry are an investment. And they have benefits that outweigh the costs. Especially if you put additional efforts and prepare yourself. You’ll do that in the way that you learn more about participants, as well to learn a few simple sentences that present your business and your aspirations the best.
Tips for quality networking
Having a great conversation often starts with a little chit-chat, so it is essential to prepare a few words with which you will start the conversation. It’s good to have on the mind how important is to help other people to feel good about themselves. In that way, they will also have the motivation to continue talking to you about a wide range of topics.
Try to approach a networking experience from the perspective of “How can I help this person?” If you genuinely try to help others out, they’ll want to do the same for you. Be authentic, share your passions, find a mutual interest, and no matter the topic show an interest to listen, also don’t forget to smile a lot.
Initiate conversation. Don’t wait for others to come to you, instead approach others and start a conversation. Being a communicative, approachable, and open-minded person keen on exchanging information is the key to successful networking. Have in mind that you will do many people a favor by initiating a chat, as they often feel uncomfortable to start first.
When on a networking event, start a conversation with your existing connections if they are present at the event. This is also a great opportunity for you as they can introduce you to some people you don’t know yet.
Always have your business cards with you. They’re an effective way for you to leave your name behind so that people remember who you are.
Try to remember the person’s name when introducing, and use his name during the conversation. Doing so makes the other person feel more comfortable like you really know him and he knows you.
Settling in with one familiar person during networking may be more comfortable than introducing to lots of new people. Be aware that his behavior defeats the purpose of networking. Maybe you think you don’t have anything important to say or offer to a person you don’t know. You might be wrong. Often it is enough just to share a sincere interest in other people. That will be a nice form of generosity that will motivate that person to remember you next time when you’ll have something specific to offer.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about what you will be speaking next. In normal conversation, it’s common to build up a flow of conversation and to fear the awkward pause. When you’re worried about constantly keeping up the flow of conversation, you often forget about listening to what the other person has to say. Don’t be afraid to take a second or two to pause and think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Often these seconds feel a lot longer to you than it does to the person you talk to.
It’s always helpful to set yourself some goals that you want to achieve with your business networking efforts. How many new business contacts you want to meet? What information do you want to find out? What presentation or education you want to listen to (e.g. at fairs)? Answer those questions and follow a goal through.
The spirit of professional networking is to exchange information. It would be very unprofessional to establish business contacts with people only because they can help you in any kind of way. As Samuel Johnson said: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good”.
Don’t be a person trying to promote yourself during the whole conversation. Neither the person who tries to make a sale is all the time pointing out only information about the features and benefits of products and services. Everybody knows that annoying feeling when you know that a person calls you only to inform you about their fantastic new products.
Also, don’t interrupt others and continuously say “Yes” “True” “Absolutely” as this is also a way to say that you are only waiting your turn to say something and that you had enough of listening.
Focus on a few people, and make a more intensive conversation and follow up after all. This is usually a more effective approach than trying to make a hundred contacts that will be hard to follow up and to make a quality relationship with.
Don’t forget to follow up after networking. Sharing information; whether a website, article, report, or phone number with new contacts builds your credibility. So if you promised that you will send some information always do as promised. That will make a lasting impression, and tell the other person that you could be a reliable partner in business.
Where to find quality networking opportunities
The best way to establish professional networks to business owners that are in the same industry as you would be by focusing on industry conventions, conferences, and trade fairs. These are places where a lot of people from the same industry meet each other.
Another way to do networking is to make use of social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, XING, and some others that help to keep in touch with people that you already know.
Networking events are also great because they target people that are interesting in establishing new business partners, as well as networking groups that will bring professionals together in a more regular way, and thus more effectively.
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