Life and work provide us with many networking opportunities, whether they are structured events such as conferences sponsored by professional associations or personal events, such as parties with family or friends.
You are likely to only attend business networking events and often don’t meet anyone in the room. In those scenarios, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs will feel more comfortable when you’ve created a standard networking event schedule for yourself:
Get a customer.
Get a referral source or contributor.
Meeting a potential customer will be a long shot, no doubt. Knowing a promising referral source or someone you can collaborate with is also over the top, but the odds are better. Learning something useful, whether it’s from the show’s speaker or useful information you get from someone you know, is a reasonable gamble.
So perfect your short-form elevator pitch. Remember to smile, relax, and be open to meeting new people. Take note of these topics to start easy-to-implement icebreaker conversations that will increase your network ROI:
- Approach someone who is alone, smile and introduce yourself. You’re in the networking room, so be sure to expand your knowledge. You could meet someone who is worth meeting, and at the very least, it will make someone more comfortable and happy to be there. “Saving” someone is good karma.
- “This is my first time attending this seminar. Are you a regular?” Showing a little vulnerability is both humanizing and courageous. It will demonstrate your mastery of the meeting and greeting ritual. This openness eases the transition to a later conversation.
- “I admit I don’t know much about what (the sponsoring group) does. What other shows do they put on?” With this question you will receive information that will help you evaluate the possibility of deepening your involvement with the host organization.
- “That’s interesting. Tell me more. “ People love to talk about themselves. Conveying genuine interest is flattering and, most of all, valuable. The seeds for a good and perhaps even mutually beneficial relationship will be planted, even if you don’t meet that person again for another year or two.
- “Let me introduce you to… ” One of the best ways to position yourself as an influencer, as well as someone who is authentic and generous, is to introduce people who could work together.
- Ask the speaker a good question. Take notes during the presentation and raise your hand during the questions and answers. Attendees can look it up after the talk. Feel free to approach the speaker as well. A good question shows you as a smart person. Be careful not to hog the microphone.
- “Hi, this is (name). That was the right question you asked the panelist. What do you think about (related topic)?” In this scenario, you approach someone who asked the speaker an insightful question.
- “It was a pleasure meeting you. I see someone who is on my list to meet and I am going to say goodbye. Thanks for being good at talking. ” Your exit strategy.
Thank you for reading,