Before attending any networking event remember to take your business cards. Make sure you have some loose cards in your right-hand pocket or in a place where you can reach them easily.
Prepare your “elevator” speech – or several versions of it. In reality you have about 30 seconds to make a lasting impression on whoever you talk to, therefore, a good elevator speech should concisely describe what you and your company can offer. I often make an effort to check a list of those attending and research the people or organisations prior to approaching them. Nowadays, you can do it very quickly using the internet. LinkedIn, in particular, allows you to do basic research.
Arrive before the start of an event on the off-chance that you may come across guest speakers or people in charge of the event and have an early opportunity to connect with them. Once there, connect with new people. If you arrived with friends, it’s best to split up and approach new contacts. Be a good listener, do not spend the whole time talking about yourself. Ask what other people do. The more you listen the more you find out about other people, so don’t do all the talking as you will learn nothing about the person you are trying to connect with.
You cannot build and develop a trust when you show no interest in learning more about that person. Most importantly, do not try to sell. The best is “give and take” policy.
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