If you find yourself gearing up for conferences, then you know it’s about that time to put your networking game face on.
For some of us, that’s easy. We were born to network. For others of us … let’s just say it doesn’t come quite as natural. Wherever you land on the spectrum of networking prowess, you can always use a quick refresher now and again.
Here are five tips to help you warm up those networking skills to get conference day ready.
1. Set a goal
It’s not about the quantity of people you meet at a networking event; it’s about the quality of the conversations you have. When approaching your next networking event, set a goal for yourself. For instance, you might start off with the goal of meeting at least five people at your next event. If you’ve made valuable connections with those five people, then you can consider that event a successful one.
2. The elevator pitch
Yes, have your elevator pitch prepared, but don’t plan on kicking off a conversation with it. Networking is about making valuable connections, not rushing out and making a hard sell. Have your elevator pitch prepared as a way to have your thoughts organized, but be sure to tailor it to the situation at hand.
3. Conversation starters
If starting a conversation or jumping into one has you a little tongue tied, try preparing by making a list of some conversation starters. Sure, not all of them will be applicable to the situation at hand, but the process of making a list will help you get in the right frame of mind.
Don’t underestimate the power of a smile. Smiling lets the people around us know that we are comfortable and enjoying their company – a great way to start off new relationships. But there is also growing evidence that the simple act of smiling can actually make us feel happier. What a quick and simple way to shake your networking nerves.
5. Take notes
Networking is a great way to meet and mingle with new people. With all of those new faces, however, it can be easy to forget the important tidbits you learned throughout the evening. As you exchange business cards, use those as your note cards. Write down anything that stood out to you about the conversation on their business card and refer back to it when it’s time to follow up.
These were just a few networking tips. But there are tons! What are some of your favorites?