If you want to get more business, if you want to get referrals, if you want to create a buzz about your business, then the one thing you really must NOT do when you are networking is to weird people out. Sounds obvious, but believe me, people keep doing this stuff and it creeps people out.
There are 7½ ways to weird people out, so let’s start with the tiny half… Read on and see if you recognise people you have met (or even yourself). Diagnose your networking creep factor and then exploit the tips and action plans to banish them forever.
Mistake #½ The Ninja
You won’t notice the Ninja. They blend in and are invisible. They turn up, their name is on the delegate list, you may even magically have their business card at the end, but no-one remembers the Ninja…
Tell-Tale Signs That You’re a Ninja in the Making….
- You deliberately arrive at the last minute and leave as soon as you can (mumbling your paltry excuses)
- You go to the toilet every ten minutes or so – and spend ages in there each time
- You keep going to get yourself a drink whilst avoiding eye contact with anyone
- You constantly check your phone for messages/ missed calls
- You avoid drawing attention to yourself – by standing at the edges and never saying anything
“If you don’t stand out from the crowd, then you become invisible” Seth Godin
First Steps To Ensuring People Notice You
Give yourself the goal of having just one conversation with someone at the next event. Instead of trying to join a group, look for someone who is standing on their own and is just hoping someone will come and talk to them. They’re nervous too so you already have something in common.
Afterwards see if you can write down this information about them: their name, how they help other people, what problems they have right now and whether or not you would like to meet them to find out more.
How You Can Become Visible
- Go to the toilet and get a drink BEFORE you go networking and don’t do it again unless you absolutely NEED to
- Turn your phone off and leave it off – better still, leave it in your car
- Arrive early and take the initiative – start conversations with something as simple as “is this your first time here?”
- Be the first one on your table to speak
- Ask at least one person at every event if they would like to meet for coffee so that you can get to know each other better
Gradually get to know a few people really well, so you understand them, their business, how they help people, their ideal clients. And they know the same about you.
This is the start of a powerful network for you and your business.