Not everyone can be a natural when meeting a group of people you never met for the first time. Business networking event is always a time where the most networking-savvy person will benefit the most. You can achieve equal excellence even if you are relatively inexperienced in networking. Try the follow 5 simple steps
A smile is a handshake before the handshake. It helps you to relax though you may be nervous. Believe me, many others in the room are nervous. A smile adds to your personal branding.
1. Survey/Scan. Survey or scan the room to look out for someone who isn’t talking to anyone or not busily having his food. Start with him, get to warm up and move to others whom you wish to get to know. Working the room helps you to cover all the important people you need to connect with within a certain timeframe.
2. Mirror or Move. The easiest way to establish quick rapport is to mirror each other’s body language. It breaks the ice quickly and help you to make your elevator pitch more effectively. Not everyone will be equally keen in investing their time with you, move on to others when you gets the hint from their body language.
3. Introduce others. There is no better way to get more connection than being a connector yourself. Practice making great introduction on your own when you are alone. Help others to make a difference and promote others as much as possible. As you sow opportunities, you will reap many more opportunities for yourself.
4. Lead the conversation. If you have only 2 hours and there are 40 people in the room, you effectively have only 3 minutes with everyone. Ask the right question, give the right referral and make arrangement to follow up with someone you wish to do business with. If you feel there is not much interest from the other party about your business, move on gracefully to others.
5. Engage and Disengage. An interesting conversation will usually end up enlarging your group to 3-5 people gradually. Learn to hold their interest and attention by engaging in meaningful discussion of insight, forecasts or reviews. When you notice the group begin to shrink again, disengage discreetly and move on to others.