1. When you arrive at a networking event, avoid gravitating to people you know. You should initially thank the host and then immediately find someone new to introduce yourself to. This will help keep you in the right frame of mind as to why you came.
2. Stop selling and start listening! When you meet someone for the first time, use it as an opportunity to get to know them. Don’t try to sell them anything. Rather, begin to establish a relationship.
3. Keep your business cards in the breast pocket of your coat, a shirt pocket, or in an outside pocket of your purse so they are easy to access and in good condition.
4. When giving a person your card, personalize it by hand writing your cell number on it. This will cause the recipient to feel that they are receiving something special.
5. When receiving a business card from someone, take a moment to write yourself a note on it such as where you met. If you do this while you’re still talking to the person, it will help convey your sense of personal connection.
6. During the course of a conversation at a networking event, use the other person’s first name two or three times. People always like to hear their own name and it will help you to remember it when the discussion is over.
7. Rather than telling a new contact all about yourself, spend your time asking them questions. It’s amazing how much you’ll learn!
8. Connect with the person you’re talking to by tilting your head as you listen to them. It is an effective body language technique which communicates that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying.
9. When a person is talking to you, be sure to look directly at them. Giving a person full attention with your eyes will encourage them to share more. When giving someone eye contact, remember it’s not a “stare-down” contest. Give the person 3 to 5 seconds of eye contact and then look away briefly before returning your focus to them again.
10. Never approach someone if they are walking towards the restroom or if they have a phone in their hand. Wait until they have returned to the networking area or put their phone away.
11. Always keep one hand free to allow yourself to shake hands with people. This means that you shouldn’t eat and drink at the same time. Remember, you’re there to network, not eat a full-course meal.
12. As a way of demonstrating your networking skills, introduce each new person you meet to at least one other person.
13. Never try to barge into a group of four or more people. Come along side of the group, but do not attempt to enter into the discussion until you’ve made eye contact with everyone and a minimum of two other people in the group have said something.
14. Do not approach two people who are talking, as you may be interrupting an important discussion.
15. Initiate conversation with someone who is standing by themselves. They’ll be happy to have someone to talk to them and, as a result, will many times open up with valuable information.
16. When you meet someone for the first time, you have 48 hours to follow up with them before they will completely forget about meeting you.
17. A networking event is not a time to see how many business cards you can acquire. Rather, it is a time to develop a few relationships that have potential.
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