DO YOU FIND YOURSELF attending countless networking events without generating much new business? It’s possible you’re not leaving a memorable impression. Don’t take it personally. Most networking group participants focus on what they’re going to say next, not what other people have to say. Deploying attention-grabbing strategies can be essential to generating a real return on your time investment in networking. Start by wearing your nametag in a place where people aren’t afraid to look at it, slightly beneath your shoulder. Better yet, avoid paper nametags that inevitably curl or fall off, and invest in a more permanent nametag. Make sure your name and your company’s name are printed in large, easy-to-read letters. Make sure you’re one of the best-dressed people in the room. You only have three seconds to make a strong first impression, and once that impression has been made, it’s nearly irreversible. People appraise your visual and behavioral appearance from head to toe. They observe your demeanor, mannerisms and body language — and even assess your grooming and accessories, like your watch, portfolio and handbag. If your outward appearance suggests success and professionalism, others will remember you as a valuable contact. When introducing yourself, say your first name, pause, and then say your full name. Repetition improves the chance your name sticks to memory. For example, say, “I’m Angela. Angela Anderson.” Develop a memorable greeting. If you’re a loan officer, say, “I help make the dreams of business owners come true by connecting them with start-up capital.” If you own a record shop, consider saying, “Hi, I’m Rick. Rick Henley. I believe in second chances for people and vinyl. That’s why I sell pre-owned records at my shop over in Midtown.” If you’re shy, bring a wingman. For example, you could bring a colleague who knows you well. You could approach new people together by introducing and bragging on one another. “This is Jenny. She’s a financial planning whiz. I wouldn’t trust my money with anyone else!” Fully engage in each conversation. Don’t focus on who’s entering the room or what you’re going to say next. Maintain eye contact, smile, ask thoughtful follow-up questions and sincerely compliment people. The late author and poet Maya Angelou once famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Use storytelling to engage everyone you speak with. Have a couple of clever stories prepared that reinforce what you do and the value your company offers. Use humor to keep the stories interesting. After the event, consider sending a handwritten note that references something interesting you learned about that person during your conversation. Handwritten notes are rarely used these days, which will make you stand out. Your time is precious. Make the most of your next networking event by making yourself memorable.
This blog was written by RedRover’s CEO & Founder, Lori Turner-Wilson. Read more about Lori and her unwavering commitment to guaranteed marketing results in her bio.