Posted by Ilise Benun on Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 00:00
My webinar for The Creative Group, Tips and Tricks for 21st Century Professional Networking, was a lot of fun.
I shared networking tips to help attendees make the most of their efforts – and answered questions at the end. But time went by quickly, and we didn't get to cover everything. Here are my answers to a few of the questions we didn't have time to cover. Perhaps you've wondered them yourself?
At an event, what networking tips do you have for approaching someone who's already engaged in conversation?
Walk over and hover! If they are fully engaged in the conversation, just put yourself in their proximity, listen, demonstrate your interest, start nodding your head and wait for an opening – then introduce yourself. If they're in a conversation but it's lagging, just jump in and say, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'd like to introduce myself to both of you."
I'm headed to an event next week. I'll be in the room with my dream audience. I was always of the philosophy of connecting with two or three people versus meeting as many people as possible. What is your thought on this?
If you've ever been to an animal shelter – and you're like me – you want to adopt every dog you see. They're adorable! But when you get to know them, the ones who would be a mutual fit get fewer. It's like that with networking. Yes, it's definitely better to have a deeper conversation with fewer people than to try to meet everyone. First, you'll need to know which ones to dive deeper with. By knowing what you're looking for, you can figure out whether or not this person fits in the first minute of your conversation. (Sometimes, they might not fit the description, but if you feel like there is lots to talk about, go for it. You never know where it could lead.)
If they aren't a fit, you need to move onto someone who is. That means you must know how to get out of a conversation. It's easy. Be gracious and thank them for chatting, exchange cards and say, "I'm going to meet some more people."
Like with dating, is there a similar "three-day rule" when it comes to following up after an in-person meeting? In other words, how long should you wait before making contact?
No! There are no games in business. Follow up right away. Otherwise, you might forget, or they may assume you're not interested. If you're really interested and serious, your prospects need to know that right away.
Have additional networking tips and tricks? Share them in a comment below.
Ilise Benun is a national speaker and the author of several books. She's a regular contributor to HOW Magazine, the lead editor of the Creative Freelancer Blog, a frequent speaker at design industry events and the co-founder of the Creative Freelancer Conference. She is the founder of Marketing-Mentor.com, where she works closely with creative professionals, teaching them how to best develop their business through creativity, sell their services and talents and implement efficient systems and procedures to run the business smoothly. Sign up for her tips at www.marketing-mentortips.com.