In a world that is increasingly digital, it can be easy to forget the importance of face-to-face networking. However, networking in person is still an incredibly important part of doing business. Whether you're meeting potential clients or networking with other businesses, making a good impression and forming meaningful connections can be essential to your success.
If you're new to networking or just looking for some tips on how to make the most out of networking events, read on for our guide to in-person networking best practices.
5 Tips for Successful In-Person Networking
1. Make a Good First Impression
Part of the reason why making a good first impression is important is because people tend to form opinions quickly and automatically, and these initial reactions are very difficult to change. And when you think about it, it makes sense that our brains would be wired this way- it was an evolutionary adaptation that served us well in our caveman days when we had to quickly assess whether someone was friend or foe.
These snap judgments are often based on extremely superficial cues like appearance, mannerisms, and body language. So if you want to make sure you're putting your best foot forward, you need to be aware of how you're coming across to others. Are you smiling and making eye contact? Do you look approachable? Are you slouching?
2. Have an Elevator Pitch Ready
An elevator pitch is a quick, persuasive speech that you can give to someone who you only have a short amount of time with, like in an elevator. It's a great way to get your point across and to make a good impression. If you're looking for a job, an elevator pitch is a great way to introduce yourself and your skills. You can also use it to promote your business or to ask for someone's help or advice. No matter what the occasion, it's always good to have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch ready to go.
3. Be Polite and Courteous
The reason it's important to be polite is because politeness is a form of respect. It shows that you care enough about the other person to take the time and effort to put yourself in their shoes, to think about what might make them feel comfortable or happy, and then to do your best to accommodate them.
Politeness also conveys a sense of humility, making it clear that you understand that you are not always right and that there is no need for anyone to be argumentative or hostile. Finally, politeness helps maintain social harmony by preventing people from feeling uncomfortable or attacked. So overall, politeness is beneficial because it allows everyone to feel valued and respected, thereby creating a more positive and pleasant social environment.
Networking events are all about building relationships, and you never know who knows whom.
4. Use Digital Business Cards
There are a few key reasons why digital business cards can be beneficial, especially when compared to traditional paper business cards.
One reason is that they’re more environmentally friendly. With digital business cards, there’s no need to print out and waste paper – which is helpful for both you and the environment.
Another big advantage is that digital business cards are often more interactive and informative than their paper counterparts. You can include things like links to your website or social media profiles, as well as your contact information and a short bio or summary of what you do. This allows people to get a quick overview of who you are and what you do without having to search for this information elsewhere.
5. Follow Up
If you want to build relationships and create opportunities, following up after a networking event is essential. By staying in touch with the people you meet, you can solidify relationships and deepen your connection to them. Plus, following up gives you a chance to introduce yourself again if the person you're speaking to didn't catch your name the first time. A simple email or phone call can go a long way in building a solid relationship.
By following these simple tips, you'll be sure to make the most of your networking opportunities and create meaningful connections that can benefit your business and personal brand.
We’ve also gone ahead and listed a few things you shouldn’t do below!
Be shy - networking is all about meeting new people and putting yourself out there!
Forget your digital business card - you never know when you'll meet someone who could be a potential client or business partner.
Monopolize the conversation - remember that networking is about building relationships, not just selling yourself.
Neglect to follow up - make sure you exchange contact information with the people you meet and follow up with them later. A simple email or phone call can go a long way.
Be afraid to ask for help - networking is all about building relationships and networking with others can only help you in the long run.
Miss out on networking opportunities - keep your eyes open for networking events, trade shows, and other opportunities to meet new people.
If you follow these simple tips, you'll be sure to make the most out of your next networking event! Dress to impress, be polite and courteous, follow up with people you meet, have an elevator pitch ready, and be interested in the other person. And don't forget - networking is all about building relationships, so have fun and enjoy getting to know new people!