By Julian Turley
Depending on who you ask, networking can be exhilarating, or it can be exhausting. Yet, we all know that we can not get to the next level without help. Whether talking with an investor, college or job recruiter, or even a love interest we all have to be able to start a conversation, keep it going, and move on to the next person.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to pitch my company, Nomsy, to several different investors and fellow entrepreneurs. Afterwards I had to work the room and get those business cards. Prior to get them, I had a strategy in mind that worked like a charm despite my introversion. So here are 4 things you should consider when networking a room whether you are an extrovert, introvert, or blextrovert. (Someone who is in between)
1. What is your goal?
What do you need to go to the next level? What is it that you want? Understanding your goal and how your goal can be reached by networking is one of the most important strategies to have. Otherwise why are you there? In a world, where time has a value you want to make sure that you are able to maximize your time by making sure that you know what you want to begin with. Also make sure that you write down your goals to make this very clear.
2. Create some questions.
Do you know what you are going to ask? Do you know what you are going to talk about? Try to write a list of at least 10 questions for the various people that you expect to talk with. Make sure that these questions display genuine interest in what they are doing, and answer a real question that you have. By having prepared questions you will be able to continue a conversation with the person that you are talking with. Also it is important to ask open-ended questions, and try to avoid those yes-no q&a’s.
3. The approach.
Ah yes. The approach. If you see a person who isn’t talking with anyone, be confident, introduce yourself, and give a genuine compliment. This is very important to open up with a compliment to ease the situation and make networking as natural as possible. Plus everyone likes compliments! If you find yourself wanting to talk with a group, this can be a bit tricky because you don’t want to barge in but, you do want to be apart of the conversation. When doing this use your discretion, listen to the conversation of the group, then enter in by saying something about what they are talking about and say how you were listening in and couldn’t help but to join in. At that point you should be able to introduce yourself.
4. Ask for the card.
Once you have talked with the person you have approached, or has approached you, the next goal should be to ask for their business card or email so that you may follow up with them that day or within 2 days at the most. One of the best ways to close a conversation is to say, “We should continue the conversation about (what you were talking about here), do you have a business card or email in which I may contact you?” Then move onto the next person that you would like to have a conversation with.
Now that you have some of these tips make sure that you practice them so that you can get a stronger feel for networking. You can practice in front of the mirror, or in line at the grocery store. The more you practice, the more confidence that you will gain in your ability to network. So just go out and get them cards!