@CorpNet 7 Tips for Surviving & Thriving at Networking Events

October 2, 2011

Taking Threepoint’s Spark away from discovery and food momentarily, I wanted to share this great article and good reminder about essential networking practices. My networking mentor Harvey A. Goldstein http://hgoldsteincpa.com taught me the networking karma that I find myself using subconsciously each and every day – connection. Asking people how their day is going is a simple reminder to that individual and to yourself that everyone you encounter is important (and could be part of your network). Be connected. In networking events or even just professional encounters, start with asking about how business is going, how is their market right now, what does their ideal client look like. And listen. Can they benefit from knowing someone you know? Create those little ripples that will become the power of big waves you’ll want later.

Reprint from Mashable
http://mashable.com/2011/09/20/networking-tips/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter

 

Author: Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet.com. Since forming more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S, she has built a strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting and protecting their business the right way.

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Whether you’re launching a startup or looking for new opportunities, networking events are an essential part of the game. Some lucky individuals dive right into these events and come out with five great leads and a new hiking buddy. But for others, these orchestrated events can be a total drag, full of awkward moments and monotonous small talk.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the networking scene, here are seven ways to make the most of these events.

 

1. Remind Yourself: You’re There to Give, Not Get

All too often, new entrepreneurs and job seekers go into a networking event thinking it’s their one shot to get X, Y or Z. By setting the stakes so high, you suck all the fun out of the event and put an inordinate amount of pressure on your shoulders.

Change your mindset. You’re not there to get. Instead, you’re there to contribute to the event, help others or just learn what other professionals are doing. This little change in thinking will boost your sense of purpose and self-worth and erase that overwhelming pressure. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself having a good time, developing strong relationships and attracting loads of referrals.

 

2. Don’t Appear Desperate

Whether you’re dating or networking, neediness is a major turn-off. As discussed above, when your main purpose is getting something from the event, you send the message that you’re deprived of something (a job, customers, clients) and you’re looking to the person you’re meeting to save you. So no matter how badly you need a job or new client, you’ve got to set that aside when interacting with others.

 

3. Have Sincere Conversations

There’s a lot of jargon out there, and these buzzwords block any kind of meaningful conversation or relationship. Yes, you should prepare and practice answers to expected questions like “So what do you do?” But these answers should be simple, natural and in plain English. Your goal is for anyone (not just those in your industry circle) to understand and connect with what you’re saying.

And if you find yourself stuck on the receiving end of a stuffy, jargon-filled elevator pitch, try to shift the dynamic with a simple question like “So what does that mean?” You’ll get into a more natural, and interesting, conversation.

 

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

This is a great skill for anyone who can’t stand all the repetitive small talk associated with meeting people the first time. The goal here is to always ask people questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Pick questions that demand a real answer, like, “How has your industry changed in the past 10 years?” “What are your customers asking for the most?” and “Why do you think that is?”

As a general rule of thumb, “why” questions generate the most interesting answers and conversations.

 

5. Limit Your Drinking

You might think that a few stiff drinks will help you relax and mingle. There’s nothing wrong with a drink or two, but know your limit. When talking with potential employers, clients or referrals, you want to be as sharp, clear and on top of your game as possible, and alcohol doesn’t always help in these areas. In fact, recent research shows that people are more likely to go over their limit when drinking at a work function than at a bar or party.

Remember, you want to portray yourself as someone others want to work with, not necessarily drink with.

 

6. Connect With Everyone (and Never Look Over Anyone’s Shoulder)

Maybe your goal is to find a new job as a community manager, but you’re “stuck” talking to an IT engineer. Don’t write off the opportunity. I can’t tell you how many people have found a client or job through someone who knows someone who knows someone. What’s the lesson here? Appreciate each person you meet, don’t be dismissive, and never ever scan the room while talking to someone. You just never know where a conversation may lead.

 

7. Practice

Think of networking like any other professional skill. While others in the room may look like born networkers, they are likely just more experienced. It’s something you have to learn through trial and error. And the only way to improve is to just get out there and do it.

 

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