Networking events are all about “breaking the ice”, creating a first connection with others, forming initial trust, finding how each side can help the other, and attracting someone’s interest in order to create a second meeting.
It is not an easy situation for everyone to be in, but there are definitely a few interpersonal rules to follow in order to make it a successful one!
We interact with other people surrounding us every day and because it’s such a natural thing for us to do, many people are not aware of the difference between a friendly interaction and business one.
Some people don’t pay attention to what they say or do and ruin their chances to find opportunities. for example: While someone is being sarcastic at a networking event as he always do with his friends, the person in front of him can interpret that as a rude thing to say and inappropriate and Bang!! The connection is lost!
The key to interaction with others, let alone when meeting someone for the first time is awareness of your actions. I always stress that people should not change who they are when interacting with others; however, they should be aware of what they say or do, and make sure it’s appropriate.
Work the Networking Right
Unfortunately many people fail to network well at business networking events and it’s time to say what one should not do at business networking events. Memories the 12 highlighted “Dont’s” and be aware of your actions the next time you are at a networking event.
Not doing the following will help you “break the ice” better and leave a better impression on others, that will surely help to establish better business relationships!
1) Don’t look around when you are talking to someone
When you are scanning the room looking for your next opportunity, it makes the person you are speaking with feel like you are not interested in him or her at all. Maybe the person in front of you is the biggest client you have been waiting for, but you haven’t discovered that yet? Give others the respect of your attention.
2) Don’t interrupt in the middle of someone else’s talk
Maybe it may seem obvious but it’s certainly not. Some people introduce themselves to a new group of people when others in that group talk, without caring or showing respect. That doesn’t buy the person points with others! The right way to do so is to stand next to those who talk and wait until they will approach you or start talking to them when you feel their talk is over.
3) Don’t talk about politics or state any definite opinion
Meeting someone for the first time is a rather tricky situation as we are assessing one another and trying to realize who is the person in front of us and if we connect to him or her. We all want to impress in a way and show who we are, yet we can’t show and tell too much. So you can have a wonderful conversation with someone you just met and ruin it by stating your political views or favorite sports team, for example. Stay away from talking about controversial definite opinions. Some people may take your opinion one step too far and determine who you are based on that in a negative way.
4) Don’t correct other people
People don’t like when others tell them what they did wrong, especially if they are strangers. Sometimes we tend to correct others when we really mean good but most of the times it doesn’t come across so well…
5) Don’t talk too much
Conversation is like a tennis game: Both people should try to talk evenly in order to make sure both sides feel they have expressed themselves and keep them interested in one another. When one side talks too much the other person loses interest and at some point may let go from trying to get to know the person that doesn’t pay attention to his or her needs.
6) Don’t sell hard
Networking events are about getting to know people a little and understand their business needs and learning how each side can help one another. It is not the place and time to sell your products, you should do that in your next meeting after you established a first connection and good rapport.
7) Don’t wear your pajamas
Be aware of what you wear, make sure to come with respectful clothes that will compliment your message or position. People judge one another also by the clothes they wear as you know…
8) Don’t spend your time talking on the phone
Instead of trying to make a connection at networking event, some people find comfort in talking on the phone or standing by themselves. This is a “No No” as the reason people go to these events is to network. That way they miss possible opportunities. Getting out of our comfort zone and actively interacting with others is the key to good networking!
9) Don’t discriminate
Don’t discriminate or be judgmental of others. Talk to everyone who turns to you, and give them a chance. Sometimes it takes time to discover how others can help us and how we can help them. Remember: every person may hold an opportunity for you!
10) Don’t gossip
Don’t gossip about others, especially with people you have just met. If you do it once there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it twice. This is a sure road to loose the important trust factor in your evolving relationship.
11) Don’t express a closed body language
Body language has a lot of weight in the impression you leave on others. Show an open body language, and you will attract more people. You simply do it by opening your hands and not covering your body with them, stretching your shoulders exposing the center of your body and of course, add a little smile and invite opportunities!
12) Don’t forget your business card!
What would we do without it? A business card is your physical representation after the meeting is over. The card is a key to turn a meeting into a long-term relationship so respect it and always bring it with you!
I really want to hear about your experience. Do you have more “don’ts” to share?Do you remember meeting someone that really failed at getting you to find interest in him?
To your interactions success!
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