Easier Introductions at Networking Eventsstring(41) "Easier Introductions at Networking Events"

Some people really dislike networking events. Why? Well, there are a few common reasons, although the one I hear time after time is: anxiety about introducing yourself to new contacts.

You may be familiar with that nervous feeling as you meet someone new and try to start a conversation. Here are some suggestions that you can include in your introduction with new people that may help take the edge off for you.

  • Remember to tell others your name and your business!
    Yes, this really does happen. I was at a networking event, and someone came over to talk to me. We spoke for a few minutes about their business and their experience with referral networking before they had to excuse themselves. I then I realized that I had never gotten their name, even though they knew mine. If your goal is to introduce yourself to a new contact and leave a lasting impression, definitely make sure you tell them your name.
  • Find common ground.
    One of the best ways to quickly begin establishing a relationship is to find something about your new contact that you can relate to, or you have in common. This also alleviates the pressure when having a conversation with someone new, as it will spark topics you are both comfortable talking about.
  • Ask questions about the other person.
    People love to talk about themselves and their business. Everyone finds it easy to talk about things they know well, and what do people know better than themselves? This will allow the other person to take the lead on the conversation in a positive way, and it helps you learn more about them. The caveat here is to make sure you are asking genuine questions. Asking nonsense questions just to keep asking questions is quite transparent and will negatively impact how you are perceived.
  • Be memorable.
    If you can stand out from the crowd and make yourself unforgettable (in a positive way), you are more likely to develop professional relationships. This is most effective when you are in a one-to-one meeting with somebody rather than in a group setting. When appropriate, use a quirk about yourself, your business, etc., that can resonate with that specific person. This one requires a bit of social intelligence, but when it is done right, it is highly effective.

When you implement these suggestions, you may find it much easier to introduce yourself to someone new at a networking event. Then do it again at the next meeting or event. The more you do it, the easier it gets; nervousness and anxiety diminish, and confidence builds. 

How do you handle meeting someone new at networking events? Leave your reply below.

 

 

 

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Seven Steps to Avoid Name-Nightmares at Networking Eventsstring(57) "Seven Steps to Avoid Name-Nightmares at Networking Events"

Most of us have experienced the anguish of forgetting someone’s name while they’re standing right in front of us! It’s like a mental game of hide-and-seek that you’re destined to lose. But there’s hope, I’ve got a strong, seven-step plan to turn your name-guessing game into a name-recalling masterpiece. Prepare to impress at social gatherings and business events, all while keeping your pride intact.

  1. Stop the Name-Shaming

Let’s break this vicious cycle of saying “I’m bad at remembering names.” If you keep telling yourself you’re bad at something, your brain is going to believe it and throw in the towel before the networking event even begins. So, let’s all raise our imaginary glasses and toast to a new mantra: “I’ve got this. I can be better at remembering names.”

  1. Repetition Repertoire

Imagine this: You’re introduced to someone, they say their name is Jamison, and you think, “Alright, Jamison, got it.” Fast forward five seconds, and it’s like your brain just performed a vanishing act. The solution? Repetition! Ask them to say their name one more time, like you’re savoring the sound. “Jamison”, then, if appropriate, say something relevant to the moment like: “that’s a memorable name, why did your parents name you that?”

  1. The Name Ninja Technique

You’ve nailed the repetition, but now what? Integrate their name into the conversation.  Say things like; “How did you hear about tonight’s event Jamison?” As you continue to talk make sure to respond a couple times using their name as appropriate. “Wow, that sounds amazing Jamison!” Towards the end of the conversation ask them what social media platform they are most active on. Then, ask for one of their business cards and make a note as to the social media platform that they like to use. The conversation and the business card will help anchor their name in your mind.

  1. Association Amusement Park

For some people, remembering names is like playing a wild game of word association. So, if you meet a Jamison who’s really into football and travel, picture this: Jamison wearing a football helmet, kicking a suitcase across a field while shouting travel tips. Vivid mental images stick like peanut butter to the roof of your brain. Bonus points if it makes you chuckle in the middle of a serious conversation. Whatever form of association you make, dedicate the name to memoryMake associations in your mind. Write notes… When you are back home, review your meeting and try to remember what that person looked like and what they were saying and doing. You may want to send a quick “nice to meet you” message online to help you remember the conversation you had with them.

  1. The Phonetic Finesse

If you’ve ever stumbled over someone’s name like it’s a tongue-twister on steroids, try this technique. Ask them if there is a particular way they prefer their name to be pronounced. Not only will you earn extra points for courtesy, but you’ll also have a unique mnemonic device to remember their name. For example, if they say, “It’s actually pronounced ‘Jay-muh-sun,'” you’ll forever think of them pronouncing their name.

  1. The Visual Anchor

For some people, associating the person’s name with a distinctive feature of their appearance is helpful. If Jamison has striking green eyes, imagine him surrounded by jam jars made of emerald glass. This technique capitalizes on the power of visual memory, making it easier to recall their name by conjuring up their unique physical trait.

  1. The Greeting Gambit

Saying “it’s nice to see you” instead of “it’s nice to meet you” is rooted in the idea that many social encounters are not actually the first time you’ve seen someone. In today’s interconnected world, you might have come across someone’s photos or posts on social media (yes, it happens, I’ve had someone who felt bad that I didn’t remember them from our social media connection), you may have heard about them from mutual friends, or even seen them in a previous event, webinar, or video call. By acknowledging this, you’re not treating the encounter as completely new but rather as a continuation of a relationship, no matter how brief or distant. Plus – this has the added benefit of not offending someone that you’ve previously met. For example, there was the wife of a business associate who was once at a party at my home. Many months later, I ran into her at a grocery store which of course, was a completely different context. I recognized her face, but I had no idea where I knew her from. When she came up and said hello, I said, “hi, it’s great to see you.” She then went on to talk about how much she enjoyed the party and voila – it immediately came back to me where I met her.

So, there it is, the ultimate guide to name mastery. No more awkward moments of standing there with a polite smile while your mind is screaming, “Who are you?!”  With these additional techniques in your networking toolkit, you’ll be a name-remembering maestro in no time. So go forth and conquer those social and business events with confidence, knowing that you won’t be left in the awkward abyss of forgotten names!

Networking at Non-Networking Eventsstring(35) "Networking at Non-Networking Events"

Do you know that you can network anywhere? Networking at non-traditional networking settings can be very beneficial. One reason is because not very many people think of it. You typically have the field to yourself, with many opportunities to develop strong and lasting relationships with potential referral partners.

Start with Person-to-Person

One type of a non-traditional networking setting is a party. Everyone goes to different types of parties throughout the year; holiday parties and other social mixers bring ample opportunities to network.

Some people consider this a strange idea as they think of a boorish person selling time-shares to their aunt and uncle at their grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary or someone trying to drum up business at a funeral. But networking is not just trying to sell something, nor is it only about passing business referrals.

It is about building meaningful relationships and social capital. Master networkers understand this, which is why they are always networking.

It’s All About Relationships

Think about it – you’re already in a relationship with everybody you know. The question is: how far along has that relationship developed? Looking at it within the VCP Process® we can ask ourselves these questions.

Is it a relationship of visibility, in which you know each other but haven’t had any  business dealings?

Is it in the credibility stage, in which you’ve interacted with each other enough that a degree of mutual trust has been established?

Or has it deepened over time to the point of profitability, where both parties receive mutual benefits as a result of assistance, business referrals, or other interactions?

Nowadays, it’s easy to lose that personal touch when so much of our communication is done electronically through email and text. Yet the fact is most relationships develop through one-to-one interactions, and they get stronger every time we meet face to face. Parties and other non-networking events are when we are more likely to see people in a social setting, and these settings certainly lend them self to building relationships.

However, there are important things to remember when you’re networking at any event.

Ask Others, “How Can I Help?”

Having a Givers Gain® attitude is the number one rule to remember. We should always be thinking: How can I help this person?  Many of us know this and attempt to apply it to our relationships, yet we are more inclined to do it instinctively with those people with whom we are in the profitability category. How can we apply it to the relationships that are in the visibility and credibility categories?

At a social event, we usually ask somebody, “How’s it going?” What is their typical reply? Something like, “Great, things couldn’t be better.” That’s an automatic response that people give because they want to be polite and because they think that nobody really wants to hear their troubles. But that standard answer they give is not usually the whole truth.

Things can always be better. There are surely ways you can help—however, most people are not inclined to go into detail or let others know what’s going on, especially at a social event. The best way to find out is to avoid generalities like “How are things?” and ask more specific questions.

One time when I was having a conversation with someone, I asked them how things were going and got the standard answer that things were great, the company was expanding, and business was better than expected. My next question was “Are you hitting all of your goals?” Their answer: Yes, the business was exceeding all its goals by a large margin.

Sounds like this person didn’t need any help, right? On the contrary: to me it sounded like a big opportunity. Think about it, here was a company that was expanding faster than the owner projected. What kind of help might it need?

Many consider networking just another way to get clients, but when you think in terms of building relationships, a chance to help is a BIG opportunity. That help can be provided in many different forms, each as valuable as the next.

In this case I was able to make some introductions that the individual was very grateful for. But it was only after getting past the generalities that I was able to figure out their specific needs.

Be Sincere

When you are networking successfully at a non-networking event, people won’t even know it. That’s because you are genuinely looking for ways that you can help others, and your concern for the person you’re talking with is apparent. People who are networking exclusively for their own personal gain come across as shallow and insincere.

A good networker doesn’t have to attempt sincerity. They really care about making connections for others, not just for themselves. Some people are so accomplished and successful at networking that they are able to network virtually anywhere. They find that people are receptive to them using an opportunity to share information that will benefit others, even when that exchange takes the form of a business card at a cultural celebration.

Honor the Event

This one should really be a no-brainer, and yet we all know some overzealous business people who trawl the room at a party in pursuit of a sale, any sale. They may do the same, although less blatantly, at family gatherings and other social events. This is the exact opposite of what business networking is all about. Remember, relationships are the name of the game. Social events are a great place to get visibility and credibility, so focus on building those aspects of relationships.

Your networking must be different in a chamber of commerce meeting compared to a social event. In both cases you want to be making contacts, connecting people with each other, helping others, and building relationships. You should NOT be actively promoting your business at a non-business event. Honor the event and tailor your networking strategies so that you fit in without being tuned out.

Networking is a Lifestyle

Networking is a lifestyle that can be incorporated into everything that you do. Since one should always be working on building meaningful relationships with other people, they should always be networking. However, that doesn’t mean one should always be trying to “sell” something to somebody, because that rarely facilitates the development of meaningful relationships.

 

Remember, business networking means developing relationships, and ALL events, including social gatherings, family get-togethers, and holiday parties are filled with opportunities to help others. And helping others provides the opportunity to build and strengthen relationships.

Do you have a success story about networking at a non-networking event?
I’d like to hear about it in the comments section.

Boring Networking Events

Boring Networking Eventsstring(24) "Boring Networking Events"

I was recently asked this question by a reporter: How can you best deal with a BORING networking events?

Here was my answer to the reporter:

I remember going to a networking event many years ago, looking around the room and thinking – “wow, this networking meeting is really boring.”  As I stood there and observed the room, I came to the realization that, “if I am bored at this networking meeting – it’s all my fault!”  I’m here to network.  Networking starts with “being interested” and not with “being interesting.”  With that, I dove into the room and was committed to be interested in meeting other people and learning about what they do.  All of a sudden, the meeting became interesting.  For me, it was a reset, of the mindset.

If you’re bored at a networking meeting, you’re doing it all wrong.

Dive in to the meeting and start learning about the people in the room.  Ask them questions like:

  • What do you do?
  • What’s your target market?
  • What do you love most about what you do?
  • What’s new in your industry?
  • What sets you apart from your competition?
  • Why did you start your business?
  • What’s your most popular product?
  • What are some of the challenges for you and your business?

Focus on being interested.  You’ll find that there are many people in the room that are interesting and you’ll walk out with some valuable contacts.

[See Chapter 29 of The 29% Solution for more ideas.]

Introducing Yourself at Networking Events–Top Tips for Overcoming Anxietystring(79) "Introducing Yourself at Networking Events–Top Tips for Overcoming Anxiety"

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If the thought of giving a brief introduction of yourself and your business at networking meetings makes your palms sweat, read on . . .

When participating, even as a guest, in various networking meetings or functions, the fact is that you will be required to introduce yourself sooner or later.  Preparing a script for introducing yourself will improve your results.  One of your scripts should be an overview of what you do.  Other presentations can address various aspects of your product or service.  Here’s the script sequence I recommend:

  • Your name
  • Your business or profession
  • Brief description of your business or profession
  • Benefit statement of one of your products or services
  • Your name again

Your name and your business profession are easy enough.  A brief description and a benefit statement can be separate items,  but more often they are intertwined in your message.  It’s fairly easy to combine your business with the benefits of your product or service.  I suggest telling people what you do, as well as what you are:

“I’m a financial planner and I help people plan for their future” or “I’m an advertising and marketing consultant; I help companies get the most out of their advertising dollar.”  These explanations are more effective than saying, “I do financial planning,” or “I plan advertising campaigns.”

In many situations, you’ll be introducing yourself to only one or two people at a time.  Some networking organizations have all the members stand at each meeting, and in round-robin fashion, give a one-minute overview to the entire group.  If you’re a member of a group like this, it is vitally important to vary your presentations.

Many people who are in networking groups that meet every week have a tendency to say the same old thing, time after time.  From what I’ve seen, many weekly presentations are done weakly.  If you don’t vary your presentations, many people will tune you out when you speak because they’ve already heard your message several times.  Your best bet is to give a brief overview, then concentrate on just one element of your business for the rest of your presentation.

If you prepare your brief introduction using these techniques, you will begin to get much more confident at introducing yourself and, what’s better, you’ll begin to get better networking results.  If you try introducing yourself in this way at your next networking meeting or function,

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you–please come back and share your experience in the comment forum below.  Or, if you’ve already done some things to help you with this issue – please share your tactics with us.  Thanks!

3 Reasons Why Acting Like a Host at Events Can Alleviate Networking Fearstring(72) "3 Reasons Why Acting Like a Host at Events Can Alleviate Networking Fear"

At a recent Referral Institute conference, I was talking with Tiffanie Kellog and Renia Carsillo, two Referral Institute trainers from Florida, and we were talking about the “Ten Commandments for Working a Networking Mixer.”  To our surprise, we each share the same favorite when it comes to the Networking Mixer Commandments yet the reasons why it’s our favorite are quite different.

Tiffanie is an introvert, I’m a situational extrovert, and Renia is an introverted go-getter.  However the “Act Like a Host, Not a Guest” Commandment provides unique solutions in making networking more comfortable and natural for all three of these personality types and in this brief video we discuss  exactly how.

If you’re interested in learning about the Ten Commandments of Working a Networking Mixer, come back on Monday, October 1st to find out more.  In the meantime, let us know what you think of this video.  Are you more similar to Tiffanie, Renia, or me when it comes to your personality type?  Are you going to try the tactic of acting like a host at your next event?  If so, please revisit this page and leave a comment after your event to let us  know how it went–we’d love to hear about your experience.

Attending Networking Eventsstring(27) "Attending Networking Events"

Experienced networkers know that the fastest way to expand and enhance their network is to regularly attend gatherings where networking takes place. Having many people with overlapping interests within arm’s reach facilitates the process of making connections based on mutual benefit.

While flipping recently through Masters of Networking, a book I released back in 2000, I ran across an article contributed by my friends Cindy Mount and Jeremy Allen. The article outlines a great, six-part foundation for success at networking events, so I thought I’d share their outline with all of you here.

Attending the Networking Event

As every good networker knows, one of the fastest ways to grow your business quickly and successfully is through word-of-mouth marketing. That’s the fundamental reason networkers attend networking events. And people who have made a science of systematic networking keep six essentials in mind. Each time they attend an event, they have 1. a purpose, 2. a goal and 3. a plan, and they make sure to 4. execute the plan, 5.  evaluate their efforts and 6. follow up on all contacts.

1. Purpose

What’s your reason for attending the event? Do you expect to show up, shake hands and exchange business cards just to be sociable? No . . . your reason for being at the event should be because you see networking as a complete philosophy of doing business and living your life, and because you see that helping others is the best route to helping yourself. Keep this in mind at all times.

2. Goal

What is your destination? What do you need to accomplish at the event? What do you expect the outcome to be? How many contacts do you need, and in what kind of businesses? Do you need to become a gatekeeper as a step in obtaining your desired outcome? Think of professions, trades or business owners who would most likely hear of or see people who need your service or products, and target these people for your networking efforts.

3. Plan

Once you know your destination, you need a map to show you how to get there. A good networking plan will include these things:

Research. Whom do you have to meet? Where do they have lunch? What do their company’s annual plans say? What are some of the trends within your target industry?

Competition. Who are your competitors? What is their market share, and how much market share do you expect to capture? What edge does your competition have? What are your strengths and advantages?

Resources. What resources do you need, and where will you get them? Do you need guidance? Are your listening skills good enough to get you your money’s worth?

Backup. Do you need to recruit new contacts or associates who can take over some of your duties or help you reach your goals faster?

Schedule. How much time have you given yourself to achieve your goals? Do you have contingency plans in case you encounter problems along the way?

4. Execution

Plans don’t work unless they’re implemented. To be successful, you must begin executing your plan. Use a time management planner and project organizer that can show you a week at a glance. Mark dates when you expect certain results, then work backward to monthly, weekly and daily completion of specific objectives.

5. Evaluation

As you reach each checkpoint in your plan, stop and evaluate your results. If you find that a particular networking group is not meeting your goals, adjust your plans. You may need a new way to work the group, or you may need a new group. You may also need to consider learning a new skill or getting some help to meet your goals.

6. Follow-Up

Make complete notes on everybody you meet, keep their business cards and brochures handy, and think about the potential of each new contact you’ve made. Begin making appointments to meet and work with these contacts as soon as practical. Don’t let a recent introduction grow cold and be forgotten.

The key word in “networking” is “work.” It takes time, effort and patience, but the payoff of powerful networking will be a personal marketing strategy that accelerates the achievement of your goals.

A Great Tip for Networking Eventsstring(33) "A Great Tip for Networking Events"

At networking meetings and events around the world, I often meet people who are uncomfortable with introducing themselves to new contacts. For some people, the barrier is a feeling of inadequacy (“Why would anyone want to meet me?”), but mostly the problem is the sheer awkwardness of approaching a stranger and saying “Hi.”

One of the best ways to put yourself at ease and overcome this awkwardness is to act like the host of the event. This approach is recommended in Dr. Adele Scheele’s book, Skills for Success, and I cover it in a new (free) show hosted by yourBusinessChannel.

The idea is that by acting as if you are the host of an event, you learn to behave in an active way, not a passive way. All of a sudden, it seems natural not only to introduce yourself to people, but also to introduce people to each other, to watch for lulls in conversation and prompt further conversation, and so on. In other words, you are acting just as you do when you are the host of your own party or event.

This is a great trick for improving your networking abilities, and you can even take it a step further by not just acting like the host but by actually being the host. What I mean by this is that most networking organizations, BNI included, have a position available in their networking meetings for a person to be the host for a given meeting and welcome new people.

I believe  it’s often the lack of context that makes it awkward to introduce yourself to new people at a networking event and, by being the host, you provide yourself with proper context.