For some, the very word networking conjures up images of smarmy palm pressers passing out endless business cards to cold call about the latest in financial services. This is not what we are talking about here. These are ways to set you apart from the building a network for buildings sake crowd, and inspire loyalty and respect from your network!
When you are at a networking event, or any other time for that matter, be genuinely interested in the person to whom you are talking. This is the best way in the world to get someones attention. Don’t be one of those people with wandering eyes looking for your next contact, connect deeply with the person in front of you. People who have met Bill Clinton talk about how they felt like they were the only people in the room when they were talking with him, and how genuinely interested he was in what they had to say. If you will do this one thing you will have better results than most of the people out there.
Just as above, when you are doing the talking, it isn’t about you, it is about the other person. You should not be trying to sell your wares at a networking event, you should be trying to build relationships. Talk about interesting things you have done. Are you a skydiver?, Did you just get back from an amazing trip? Do you have an interesting hobby? Try to engage the other person on a personal level rather than a business level, once you have them interested in YOU, the business deals will come naturally.
It has been said that the sweetest sound to a person’s ears is their own name. Learn it, use it, remember it. The best way to remember someones name is to use it immediately. Once they have given you there name use it as often as possible in the next few sentences to cement it into your memory, and always ask for it again if you forget it.
This is an important one, if at all possible find out people’s birthday’s. Put these dates on your calendar and when the day comes, call them or email them and wish them a Happy Birthday. Most of the time you will be one of the few that do that day, and if you call them early you might even be the first! If you want to go even further, send them a note or card a couple days before as that will even be more rare.