3 Tips for face-to-face networking

Let’s face it: Most of us blanche at the thought of face-to-face networking. We fear that we won’t know what to say, or come off as unimpressive or pretentious, or we’re scared that our efforts won’t gain any results. Face-to-face networking can seem painful, but it is essential to your success, so it must be done! In fact, networking can be quite painless if you just keep a few simple tips in mind

1. Ask them

Everybody’s favorite topic is him/herself. It’s hard to go up to a person and just start talking about you; however, it’s very easy to get a conversation going by asking someone a question about them. It can be as simple as genuinely complimenting them on their attire or their manner of speaking, or asking them what they do for work or where they like to vacation.  Showing interest in another person gives that person a chance to consider developing a friendship with you without any feelings of discomfort.

2. A firm handshake creates a lasting memory.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, it is always a good idea to shake a person’s hand firmly when you are introduced to them. A handshake is like an imprint on a person’s mind. They’ll remember if you only grabbed the tips of their fingers, as opposed to clasping and shaking their hand firmly. A good handshake tells the other person that they can respect and have confidence in you.

3. Get their contact information.

We tend to go into networking events with the mindset that we need to distribute as many of our own business cards as possible. This isn’t a very good strategy because you’re leaving it up to other people to make the effort to contact you. If you want to have any control over whether you and an acquaintance ever speak again, you have to make sure that you get their information so that you won’t find yourself waiting for them to get in touch with you first. Here are a few information collecting strategies that you might find helpful: 1) Give out your business card with a request for one in return; 2) If they don’t have a card, have them write on the back of one of your cards; or 3) Whip out your phone and ask them to type in their information. Whichever strategy you use, accompany it with a phrase like, “Hey, I’d like to stay in touch with you and talk more about_____. Maybe we can work together on______. What the best way to contact you?”

I hope these tips will help you feel more equipped for your next face-to-face networking opportunity! If you still feel the jitters, remember to practice the tips I just shared with you, say an affirmation, wear a smile, and go for your goal!


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