Networking Should Never Be Dull
You’ve heard the saying, “People buy from people they know, like and trust.” Nothing builds trust in a relationship faster than a face-to-face interaction. As powerful as online networking is, there is nothing more magical than connecting with another human being in person. So, here are 10 TIPS on how to be a dynamic host at your very own networking event:
1. Have a designated greeter at the entrance. It’s just plain good manners to welcome people at your event.
2. Use name tags. If it is an event where most people have only met online or don’t know each other, please offer name tags. Most people are not good with remembering names, especially if they are meeting a lot of people for the first time.
3. Be a connector by introducing people to one another. Many people are not naturally comfortable going up to someone and introducing themselves. It was a big deal for them to actually show up. So, make it easy for people to engage in conversation with one another by introducing them to each other.
4. Keep announcements to a minimum. People came to network. They don’t want to listen to a speech.
5. Say good-bye to your ego. It’s not about impressing your guests. It’s about making your guests feel welcomed and comfortable.
6. Don’t be a Poser. In other words, don’t pretend to be someone or something you are not. People can detect a lack of authenticity immediately and it is a big turn-off.
7. Be courteous. Duh! Yes, I feel the need to state the obvious because I am amazed at how people don’t seem to be conscious of their lack of consideration for their guests. Being courteous is really about being considerate. It’s about anticipating the needs of your guests and making sure those needs are being met. Upon arrival for example, be proactive and point out where the restrooms are or any other important information.
8. Don’t talk adnauseam about yourself, your kids, or your pets. Nobody really cares. Unless you are talking to someone who genuinely does, (you will know because they will keep asking questions) don’t do it. Networking is inherently designed to have a dialogue not a monologue. So, ask questions. It’s about sharing in a conversation.
9. Be present. If someone interrupts you (which we all know is rude) while you are talking to someone else, the temptation is to turn your attention to the interruptor. Don’t leave your initial conversation and start another conversation with the interruptor. Just turn to the interruptor and say, “As soon as I am done talking to (say person’s name) I will be available.” Then quickly turn away and give your attention back to the person you were talking to and finish the conversation. This is a hard one and takes practice, because we naturally want to please everyone who wants our attention. It requires being fully present and grounded in the moment so that you are not easily distracted. When you drop a conversation and divert your attention to another conversation without finishing it, you are in essence saying, “You are not important to me. I don’t care about you.” Is that the impression you want to give to your guests?
10. Follow-up. Be sure to follow-up with your guests/attendees and ask them to comment on their overall experience, especially if it is going to be an ongoing scheduled event. Feedback is critical to the overall success of your ongoing events.
You’ve heard the other saying, “People may forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how YOU made them FEEL.” Everyone wants to feel special, especially your guests. Why do you think Oprah has guests that are CRAZY about her show? She knows how to make them feel special.
Do you have a networking tip to share? Feel free to add any other networking tips on the comments below. We can all learn from one another.