If it ever seems like networking events are awkward, it’s not just you. We all struggle sometimes. But how can you make it easier – and why is it definitely worth the effort? Here are the toughest things about networking – and how can you overcome them:
1. Small talk
Make it more natural and find an ally – it’s easier for a third person to join a conversation between others than to start up from cold, so buddy up and let the chatter flow. Odds are good that they’re thinking the exact same thing, and that connection can spark an honest dialog.
2. Remembering names
You may meet hundreds of people at your next networking event. That’s a lot of names! That’s why memorization is key. Play an open round of the name game. You can even challenge others to join in. You can quickly unite a small team of strangers around overcoming one of the toughest parts of networking and in doing so, you’ll learn a lot more about them than just their names.
We think you can do better than low-hanging fruit like “What do you do?” – ask something deeper to really get to know someone. This is how you make contacts who call back. Here are a few icebreakers that do the trick:
What are you hoping to get out of this event?
What’s your story?
What would you say that you’re known for?
Hey, do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice.
4. Following up
Networking doesn’t end with the event – sincere follow-up closes the deal and builds stronger connections. After the event, write down whatever you remember about your new contacts, and send them an email referencing your conversation.
Meeting new people at events is tough but it sure gets easier with practice. Follow these tips and you’ll be networking like a natural in no time!How can you make networking easier – and why is it definitely worth the effort? Here are the toughest things about networking, and how can you overcome them.
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