Just last month I attended one of Ron Gibson’s networking events. He had invited me to help me meet some new people and expand my network. A couple of days before the event, Ron and I were having a chat and out of that conversation, I remember asking him about a single thing to remember when at networking events and he talked about a key guiding principle to networking conversations;
It’s highly unlikely that someone you meet first time will buy from you or refer business to you just after taking to you for a few minutes at an event. So don’t feel pressured to tell the whole story about your business. What you need to do is make a good impression so that people want to keep talking to you and will continue to do so after the event (over coffee/lunch) and at future events. And what will make someone want to continue talking to you? Ask them about them, let them talk about themselves and listen to what they say! Not focus the conversation on you and bang on about your business.
There are some powerful reasons why you should focus the conversation on the other person:
- You get to assess whether the other person could be a customer/client or referrer for you and can adjust your approach accordingly.
- By listening and understanding what the other person may need, you can best position yourself and hit the right buttons for them.
- If you have more than one product or service to offer, you can select the most appropriate one and use a laser-focused targeted message.
- You can pick up the best way to communicate with them based on the way they speak and the words they use.
- You might be able to pick up on some very specific areas where you can add value immediately.
- By listening you’re showing your ability to be empathetic and understanding.
For more knowledge on conversations at networking events grab a copy of Ron’s latest book “Making The Most Of Your Business Networking Conversations” to access practical tips and strategies for making networking and business events enjoyable and worthwhile.