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5 tips to help you master your next networking meetup

July 10, 2021

Walking in a crowded room full of strangers and presenting yourself confidently while trying to have an engaging conversation may feel like a daunting task. Becoming skilled in networking will help you gain potential customers, receive feedback, get referrals, make lasting business relationships, and ultimately help you build long-term professional success. 

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Use These Sales Networking Tips To Reduce Anxiety

We have all been there with the slightest bit of anxiety about an upcoming networking event. As networking may come easy to some, for most, it can feel intimidating. 

Walking in a crowded room full of strangers and presenting yourself confidently while trying to have an engaging conversation may feel like a daunting task.

Becoming skilled in networking will help you gain potential customers, receive feedback, get referrals, make lasting business relationships, and ultimately help you build long-term professional success. 

Let's face it; we are all networking for the same reason to help each other out and create long-lived relationships to better one another.

The strategy of hoping that someone will read your mind or start the conversation with an ice-breaker is not always a guarantee. It's best to come prepared with a plan to help make yourself known and make networking meetings part of your professional routine. 

Check out these sales networking tips for mastering your next networking event.

1. Focus On Your End Goal

When approaching your next networking sales meeting, be sure to have a plan to help you stay on track. Ask yourself what you would like to get out of this networking event? Is your goal to build prospects or possibly find a mentor in your field? 

A great thing to include in your plan is a personal elevator pitch, including who you are and your professional background. It's great to be equipped with business cards and your Linkedin info or links to other professional social media platforms to share.

Having a contact exchange may allow you to follow up and open the door for future networking opportunities. 

With your goal in mind, it will help you better understand who you are meeting and what you would like to accomplish. The person you are speaking to may not align with your specific objective; however, they may have connections to someone that may help you get closer to what you are trying to achieve. 

2. Have Ice-breakers Prepared Before The Event

Let's say you have had a long stressful day and you are having a hard time thinking of something to say to get the convo rolling. 

That is the last thing you want while trying to combat your nerves during a networking meeting; it's best to have a few ice-breakers to get a convo started or get past any lull in an exchange. 

Ways to combat that stress and keep an engaging conversation are easy ice-breakers to have people respond quickly. A great rule to stand by is to avoid topics you wouldn't want to speak about in the workplace, such as; religion, politics, workplace gossip, or death. 

Keep them light and easy for your audience to chime in. Below are a few examples of some great conversation starters are:

  • Reasons for attending the networking event
  • Ideas on how to combat a challenge at work
  • Plans for the upcoming weekend
  • Recent Sporting Events

3. Go As A-Team

Going with a small group or with your sales team can have its advantages in networking events and help foster business relationships. Understanding one another's goals and objectives will allow you to cover more ground and enable you to make the right connections. 

Having a person with you can assist in any networking moment by leveraging one another skills and strengths. Having a group is an excellent networking tip if this happens to be your first time to a new networking group. 

It may help you approach other people, or the group may attract people to join in, allowing you to leverage another in conversation to gain more opportunities to connect with the right people. Be sure your group has a good concept of your objective and an understanding of your rapport-building skills. 

Having a group of people you know will help take the pressure off of responding right away and allow you to open the conversation to a more extensive discussion.

Talking with a person you are unfamiliar with for an extended period can be mentally consuming. 

In those moments when you find yourself in need of a brief break, checking in with your team will provide you that quick relief to recharge and branch out. 

4. Watch Your Non-Verbal Language

Non-verbal cues are just as important as what you are saying. Stating the importance of body language and nonverbal cues seems obvious; however, our body language reflects our feelings about a conversation. 

Similar to open-ended questions, it is just as beneficial to a discussion on having positive non-verbal cues. A noticeable non-verbal cue while networking is to provide natural eye contact as it shows that you are actively listening.

Something to be mindful of is your body positioning. You should be square with the speaker or towards the center of a group. 

To have an idea of what non-verbal cues you might be sending is to do a quick body scan. Is your torso facing a different direction, or where are your feet? Even though you may be interested, having your body facing another direction may give the impression you are not paying attention. 

5. Show Confidence & Engagement

Even though you are feeling those networking nerves, nobody will know if you present yourself confidently. It's as simple as standing up straight, pushing your shoulders back, and having good posture. 

As you are actively listening, it may benefit the conversation to nod as you see fit. Utilizing body language such as nodding will show your audience that you are internalizing the discussion and understanding what is being said. 

Providing an appropriate response and tone to a conversation can help you avoid any awkwardness. As expressing your excitement to someone's objection might be a great comedy bit, it may hurt your chances of providing a great first impression. 

Be sure to reciprocate the tone, and smiling while others are speaking will show you are enjoying their company and having a positive experience. 

Make The Most Of Each Networking Event Today!

Networking meetings and industry events are part of being a sales professional, and, just like most things that may make us feel uncomfortable, it's best to lean in. 

Utilize your new networking tips to present yourself confidently and have the opportunity to build relationships with other professionals that can help you achieve your goals. It's time to view your next networking sales event as an opportunity to develop your professional network. Who knows where that next conversation will bring you.

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