How to Network Successfully
It’s a busy time for networking in the Tri-Cities, we have 20 events over the next 3 months for you to connect and engage with local businesses and entrepreneurs. To help you make the most of these networking opportunities, we’ve laid out a step-by-step guide to networking success!
Start up a conversation
Everyone is there for the same reason – to make new connections and grow their business. So, step out of your comfort zone and go say ‘hi’, chances are: they’ll probably be relieved that you were the one to start the conversation. Offer a small compliment > ask meaningful questions
Think about how you would typically introduce yourself, “Hi, I’m Stephanie Rennie, I’m the Communications Manager at the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce”, and how that resonates with your audience, the person standing in front of you. What is communications to them? Your title could be interpreted a number of ways. Instead, explain what the end result of what you do it and how they can benefit from you. For example, “Hi, I’m Stephanie Rennie, I help businesses amplify their message to reach an engaged audience.” This instantly shows your value.
Get the conversation going
When engaging in conversation, it is important to be authentic. The best way to breakdown the networking barriers is by sharing stories of your struggles, uncertainties or anxieties that make an impact. People are able to easily relate to the human elements helping to create that genuine connection.
Ask meaningful questions
Once you develop a genuine connection, the need for boring Q&As should dissipate. But if you find yourself searching for the next question, here are some examples to keep on hand.
- How did you find out about this event?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- Where did you grow up?
During the conversation, be engaged and practice active listening. The secret to networking success is building trust and rapport.
If a colleague joins the conversation, be sure to introduce the two parties and catch your colleague up to the current conversation. This gives your colleague the opportunity to join the conversation right away. As well, if you know someone that would fulfill the needs of the person you’re chatting with, help facilitate an introduction. If you share something authentic, you’ll receive something authentic in return.
Exit the conversation
You’ve made a great connection but there are more professionals for you to network with. Begin wrapping up by summarizing the conversation and open the door to continuing the conversation at a later date (only if you truly want to). Tell them how great it was learning about their career and ask for their card to keep in touch. Be sure to always exit gracefully and be polite.
Now put your new skills into action! Join us at one of our many networking events coming down the pipe. Then show off your networking skills at the Business Showcase on October 24 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver to over 500 business professionals.