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Networking Tips to Make an Impact at RNBA Events

Start by thinking strategically about your networking. Transform a typically random activity to a strategic one to make your networking more efficient, effective, productive, and even enjoyable. Start your strategic networking by answering three questions: Why? Who? What?

Why?

Setting goals will help you build your strategy and focus your resources. Why do you want to network? Some networking goals might be business development, building personal brand, social engagement, ego, connecting with high level executives… I could give you at least 20 different goals from my clients. You need to identify the right ones for you and what you want to achieve.

Who?

Most people think of networking as a random activity; go to an event, stand in a crowded room, hope you meet someone interesting. While random connections will always happen, create your target list. Who do you want to meet that will help you achieve the goals you set. Go to events and other activities where you know or expect you will have an opportunity to connect with your target(s) or people like your target(s).

What?

When you meet a target, what will you say? You often have less than ten seconds to gain someone’s attention, engage them. So, think about what you will say ahead of time, without the pressure of the moment.

Craft something to say of interest to each of your specific targets, perhaps something positive you read/know about them, about their company, or someone who works for their company. You need to think about their interest, not yours. Keep in mind, you are starting a relationship that will take time to build trust.

You will also continue to meet many people randomly. After exchanging names, the conversation usually goes, “How do you do? What do you do?” Figure out a way, ahead of time again, to say what you do that engages people to ask you to tell them more. Try to avoid saying, “I am a ____.” Remember you only have about 5-10 seconds to engage the person so your introduction should entice them to learn more about you One of my responses, “I open doors for people, an opportunity locksmith.” That works better than, “I am a marketing consultant.”

 

Let me offer you an example that answers all three questions:

  • Why? I wanted to meet high level executives so I joined the Executives’ Club of Chicago.
  • Who? I was attending my first meeting and decided my target connection would be thechairman of the organization. He was also the CEO of the largest public company in the Chicago area at that time.
  • What? When I had my opportunity to meet him following the program, I said, “I’ve hadthe pleasure of getting to know (his executive’s name) in Chicago United. She makes your company look great! Nice to meet you.” I never said my name and wasn’t wearing a name tag. My seven second introduction did three things: First, mentioned one of his executives got his attention. Second, the content was of interest to him. I praised his executive and let him know his five-figure investment in Chicago United was paying off. Finally, I created a memory. When I next saw him three months later, he remembered meeting me and what I said the next time.

Here are a few additional tips for working your next room:

  • Stand near the main door, not exactly at it. You will get to see many of the people attending the event, helping you to find your targets.

  • Stand near the bar, again not exactly at it. You want to place yourself at high traffic locations.

  • Figure out in advance different ways to end a conversation, even a good one. A few examples: I would like to continue our conversation and will contact you. I promised someone I would find them to say hello, excuse me. Don’t use: “I need to get another drink,” or “I have to use the washroom.” You risk the other person saying, “Me too, I’ll go with you.”

Think ahead about your networking objectives, the people you would like to meet and those with whom you would like to nurture your relationship, and finally the words you might use when meeting someone or reconnecting with them. You will improve your networking, make great connections, accomplish your goals, and enjoy doing it.

 

A master at connecting people, Fred Siegman has a special radar for recognizing common links that inspire introductions. Fred founded his firm in 1996 to share the lessons he has learned as a lifelong Serial Connector® strategist to educate, inspire, and coach businessand non-profit organization leaders about personal branding and its connection to strategic networking. Join Fred to learn how to work a room to form lasting relationships with potential clients and referral partners. Contact him today!

Posted By: Stephanie Fallara

On: June 01, 2017

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