I hope you have tried out some of the top tips for networking that I shared with you last month. Here are the next 5 top tips to help you develop your network and have some great conversations at events.
1. Keep it concise
When someone asks us what we do, we have a tendency to either say something like “Oh nothing very exciting” or waffle on. Try to avoid both of these things, if you don’t even think the job is exciting then how you can expect someone else to be excited and interested. If you waffle on then they will quickly become bored and look for an escape route. So, plan what you are going to say in answer to “What do you do?” that's concise and brief and move quickly on to asking what they do, you can always talk more about what you do later on in the conversation if it is relevant.
2. Make eye contact
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who keeps looking over your shoulder? It is really distracting and makes you feel unimportant. If you are speaking to someone show them you are engaged and listening by looking them in the eye. Eye contact is an important social cue that indicates interest (Kaisler, 2016) and makes people feel important.
“The desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature” John Dewey
When you smile people will view you as more attractive, relaxed and trustworthy (Little et al. 2011). Smiling makes others, and yourself, feel good by the release of reward hormones (Seaward, 2009). There are not a lot of bad things to be said about a smile! Be the person smiling in the room and people will want to talk to you.
4. Control the tone of your voice
Try not to go up at the end of sentences, it makes you sound like you are trying to sell something, you are under confident or you are asking a question when you aren’t. Try to start lower, go up in the middle of the sentence and come back down to end on a low note. This will feel more welcoming to the other person to continue the conversation in a relaxed way.
5. Don’t make excuses when you want to leave a conversation
If you try to end the conversation by stating that you need the loo or are going to get a drink then the other person may say “Me too” which could then turn a good conversation into an awkward one, or you could get stuck with them all night. Tell them you enjoyed meeting them, say you need to meet others, and put your hand out to shake and say “Thanks.” This makes it very clear you are ending the conversation and does it in a nice way that doesn’t make the other person feel unimportant. It also means when you bump into them later, it's not awkward.
In summary, go to networking events to be interested in others, make the people you speak to feel important, smile, shake hands and don’t waffle on about yourself. I hope you have learned some top tips for your next networking event. I would love to hear from you if you put any of these tips into action or if you have any advice you want to share.