If you’re following this three part series and you read yesterday’s post, what was it like to think about matching your networking efforts with your optimal time of the day?
If you’re anything like many professionals I work with, you probably breathed a sigh of relief. And yes, you may have particular events that you need or want to attend that are outside of your optimal times. The good news is that when you focus most of your networking efforts on attending those events that best suit your optimal time of day, you’ll find that you’re enjoying networking so much more that these other events are much less taxing.
So now that you’ve prepared yourself to enjoy the process of networking, it’s time to consider the one behavior you can bring to any event you attend: being curious. Although this may be the exact opposite of what you may have thought was true, it’s the one behavior that will make interacting with you a pleasure for other people. If it’s true that we all do business with those we “know, like and trust” this is a great way to increase the number of people who feel that way about you.
Even though many people you meet at a networking event might not be your client, it’s very likely that they know someone who would be. When you’re curious, you bring an open-mindedness to your conversations that’s refreshing–and it gives people who are not your client a good reason to refer you to their friends and associates.
One simple action you can take right now: for the next 7 days, simply focus your attention outside of yourself when you attend a networking event.
An easy way to do this is to get there early and help greet the people who are arriving as if you were welcoming them to your home. As a greeter, your job is to be curious about them and make them feel comfortable. Once you finish your greeting duties and join the networking event, you can continue the conversation with just about anyone in the room. People don’t remember much about what you say at these events, yet they always remember how they felt in your presence. You’ve already given them a reason to remember you when you welcomed them to the event. Here’s the strategy I share with my clients for engaging anyone in conversation at these events: look them in the eyes with a smile, extend your hand for a handshake, and say, “Hi, I’m (your name). What do I need to know about you?”
Try this out for the next week and let me know how it goes.