Business Networking: Tricks and Tips
The art of building business networks is not an easy task! One easy way to expand your network is the use of cocktail parties properly. Use it as an opportunity to advance your career with the tricks and tips provided in this article.
There are business forums, professional groups, cultural and religious organizations – all of which revolve around socializing that can help you meet your goal. The cocktail party is at the core of business networking and deal making.
- Enrich yourself with conversational topics – current affairs, movies and music, books, food and restaurant or whatever.
- Create your own 30 – second introduction and keep your business card handy.
- First impression lasts long: to make a favorable first impression, carefully choose your attire.
At the party:
- Before entering a room full of people most of whom are strangers, relax, breathe easily and try to keep yourself tension free.
- A firm handshake coupled with a genuine smile is the trick of winning someone’s heart at the first glance.
- Aim to meet and befriend at least three individuals per event, so don’t stay glued only to people you know.
- Look around and listen before joining a group. If the conversation is private, just move on. Make eye contact with one or two individuals in the group, smile and nod. If you’ve something relevant to share, jump in. Start with your 30 – second introduction and then come to the topic.
- If nobody appears to notice you, don’t feel nervous. Just move on, may be a loner or to another group.
- Learn to say good bye gracefully, by closing your conversation shaking hands. Fifteen minutes before the prescribed time move over to your host to say something like, “thank you, it was a great party” and leave.
- Make notes on each business card that you’ve collected with date.
- Keep business card in a card-holder.
- Within one week call those who you would like to meet again and arrange a more exclusive and mutually beneficial meeting.
Good conversation is the key to drive others towards you. It’s the attitude that counts because it establishes and improves business relationships.
- Be careful: Smile in a friendly manner and show sense of humor to the people around you.
- Be interested: Being interested in what’s going on and in what’s being talked about is very helpful for a consistent conversation. There are two types of people: some are interested in ideas and others are interested to talk about people. Adapt your conversation to the company.
- Be animated: Try to be animated and relaxed. If you’re lively and enthusiastic others would pick it up and mimic you. Good conversation has a calmness, a feeling of relaxation. It’s not hard work but a refreshing change from hard work.
- Be tactful: Don’t ask a man if the lady next to him is his daughter. She may be his wife! Think before you speak. You may hurt a person because you don’t know his soft spots. Try not to wound through thoughtlessness.
- Be flexible: Topics change and so do people and moods. A good conversationalist changes with them. Tenacity is a quality that’s admired in a bull dog and rigidity in a ramrod. Neither of these has a place in a conversation.
- Be courteous: This doesn’t mean just remembering to say “please” and “thank you”, but being considerate.
What you shouldn’t be:
- Don’t be critical: Being critical of the guests, caustic about their opinions don’t help to win hearts of the people.
- Don’t be a sad sack: Leave your tragic mask at home. Nobody wants to hear about the troubles you’ve seen.
- Don’t mumble: Speak clearly, speak up. Before a remark can be understood, before a question can be answered, before a joke can be laughed at – it must be heard, it must be intelligible.
- Don’t be dogmatic: Dogmatism can result in a full blown argument, so don’t be dogmatic. Avoid sweeping statements like “all page three people pay for publicity” or “all politicians are corrupt”. Moderate your statements, instead of all and always use some, sometimes, a few, many, occasionally.
- Don’t be argumentative: Avoid arguments because it can snatch your popularity away in just a second. Make a habit of using the face saving, argument-avoiding uses of “perhaps”, “do you think that… ”, “last week I heard somebody saying… ”, “may be I’m wrong but… ”
- Don’t be lifeless: The other guy expects a response to a witticism… so don’t disappoint him. Don’t let him carry the entire burden of talking. Laugh out loudly. This will keep the conversational ball rolling.
- Don’t be insincere: Praise people but don’t gush. Praise at the right time. If somebody has given a boring speech but in an impeccable accent, praise the delivery, not the speech.
- Don’t be egocentric: Express your opinions, state your reactions without giving the impression that you’ve the last word in the subject. Don’t talk in a way that your topics can be described as “iPod and me”, or “Google and me”.