How to Be More Successful At Networking

In order to grow a successful business you need to connect with other people.  You have an excellent opportunity to interact with other professionals having similar interests when you participate in professional networking events.  Networking events give you access to others who can help you develop profitable relationships.

Although participating in networking events is imperative for anyone who wants to promote a career or grow a business, many people are not comfortable attending and joining in these events.

Here are a few pointers which may help you feel more comfortable when attending a networking event.

At a networking event your goal is to meet as many people as possible.  You do not need to wait for someone to introduce you to a stranger and pave the way for a conversation.  If you wait for someone to introduce you there will be quite a few people you will not meet.  Instead take a deep breath and go introduce yourself to a stranger and start a conversation. Talking with strangers is a way to generate interest and support for your business interests and services.   Prepare your self-introduction in advance so it will be easier to approach the stranger and get the conversation started. Let people know who you are and why you are attending this event and give them a reason to want to learn more about you. Once you have done this a few times it will become second nature to you.  You will not be introducing yourself the same way at each event, but you will be able to determine what changes you want to make in introducing yourself and your business.

Before you attend your networking event set a goal for yourself for how many new contacts you will meet.  Determine some conversation starters.  Have some questions in mind that you can ask anyone at the event.  You might inquire about their connection to the sponsoring organization, you might inquire about what type business they are in, or you might seek their impression of the venue.

You may worry that you will appear to be flirting if you start a conversation with a member of the opposite sex.  Your intentions will not be misunderstood if you present yourself in a professional manner and keep the conversation focused on business issues and topics that are not private or personal.

Do not feel that you are being pushy when you approach someone and start a conversation.  If you keep waiting for someone else to make the first move you may spend a great deal of time standing alone.  Instead, approach someone who is standing alone or approach groups of three of more people who are talking.  Try to avoid interrupting two people who are talking since this may be a private conversation.  Be open and friendly and show interest in what is being said.  Occasionally someone may give you cold shoulder.  Don’t take it personally.  Simply smile and move on to the next person.  Tell yourself nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Devise a personal plan before your next networking event so you will be able to talk with confidence with others.  Learning to connect with others can lead to a much healthier bottom line for your business.