How to Mix and Mingle Like a Pro
Networking, networking, networking! We get it, networking is an important part of the business scene and if you’re not networking then you are some sort of business professional leper. The thing is, everyone acts like networking is a very prestigious skill that can only be learned in some kind of underground workshop and you can’t get into because you don’t know the super secret handshake.
Well I have had enough! Remember when you were in college and you and your buddies would go to the bars during happy hour to meet and talk to girls? Well guess what…Networking is the post-college version of that. Just swap bar for conference center, hotel ballroom, local restaurant, etc., happy hour for seminar, workshop, chamber meeting, prof event, meeting girls for meeting prospects, and lastly but most importantly tone down the drinking, way, way down.
Not big secret, no exclusivity, none of that. Just be your intelligent, polite, charming, self and stop worrying that you’re missing something.
Check out the tips below to help you prepare for you next networking event.
When meeting someone new, you only have approximately 10 seconds to win his or her attention, no pressure there! Don’t worry, winning someone’s attention isn't really that difficult. To Start:
Define your expertise. Don’t fall into the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none trap. When you are asked, “So, what do you do?” Don’t try to jam in anything and everything you have ever done into the answer of that question. Pick one or two areas you feel you are an expert in and build your answer around those expertise areas.
Know your best customer. When you know and can describe your best customer other people will be able to decide if they fall into that category or know someone else who does. Don’t worry about trying to appeal to everyone. You are not going to be able to do business with everyone and if you appear as though you can, you are wasting valuable time that could be used to meet well-matched contacts.
Create your pitch. If you wing and introduction you are leaving a lot up to chance. Ensure that you will capture someone’s attention by creating a quick 10-15 second introduction that includes all of your key points.
Who you are
What you do
Make sure your pitch is described in a way that any person could understand.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Write out your pitch and practice in front of a mirror. There is nothing worse than flubbing up your own introduction. Information about yourself should be the easiest information to know and screwing that up will call your credibility into question. Practice your pitch to ensure you know what you want to say and that your nerves won’t shake you when the time comes to put it to use.
Good Luck and Happy Networking...We're excited to see all of you at tonight at The Summer Networking Kickoff 2012