Networking goes hand in hand with running and developing a successful business. For many, networking doesn't come naturally; it feels weird to walk into the room full of strangers and strike a conversation. We asked Workland member and the founder of Founderly, Vattan, to share his best tips on how to network successfully at events happening offline and online.
- Be curious and genuinely interested in others
The essence of networking is getting to know someone better. The saying "fake it till you make it" is not valid here, you'll notice straight away when someone isn't entirely into the conversation.
- Be positive - your vibe attracts your tribe
A little smile goes a long way. It's an instant ice-breaker, and you'll come across as warm and inviting to others.
- Use mirroring technique
With mirroring, one person adopts the gestures, expressions, posture, vocal pitch or tone of another as a way to build rapport and strong connection with others.
- Give frequent praise
We human beings starve for appreciation and recognition.
- Prepare a one-liner to introduce yourself
For example, I say, I help ambitious professionals like you to build startups. Ditch the sales pitch and keep the intro easy, light and informal.
The online conferences and events are getting more and more popular. It's so convenient to listen to different keynote speeches, but networking at online events is a totally different game, requiring a particular strategy. Here are some tips to level up your virtual networking.
- Pre-event preparation and follow-up
Promote your attendance pre- and post-event and share who you are looking to connect with. Use your social channels like LinkedIn, and check out the possibilities of the event platform well before the start. Many events have created a specific section to facilitate virtual networking, build your profile and don't be afraid to start the conversation.
- Maintain your professional social media profiles
Have a look at your social media profiles like LinkedIn and Twitter. Consistency is the key here, update your experience and actively involve in topics you're passionate about.
- Prepare your intro and use that as a message while requesting for meetings
It's easy to engage with someone if you have something in common, give out a bit to build the common ground.
- Share insightful comments to showcase your expertise during a session. Use the platform provided and share your favourite takeaways on Twitter and Linkedin.
- Join or organise a virtual hangout (Happy hour, virtual coffee break, Cocktail party etc.) and invite like-minded people to join you. Making networking easy for others will help you a lot as well.
- Follow-up and stay in touch
Active communication is a key element in building long-lasting business relationships. Don't just appear and disappear.
I recommend reading these books:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated by Keith Ferrazzi
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant