Tips To Refresh Your Networking Skills
Over the past couple of years, meeting people face to face for those essential networking opportunities has become much more fraught with difficulty. As the world gradually learns to live with extra precautions, many of us are realising that while online communication has its place, nothing can quite compensate for communicating in person. With so little opportunity to practice lately, it may be that your networking skills have become a slightly rusty. There’s no need to worry however, as it’s easy to brush up and get back into the swing of things. Of course, when you meet people in person, it will be necessary to follow the Covid safety protocols of the venue. Start with a smaller event If the prospect of attending a big corporate event feels too overwhelming at first, try and arrange a smaller meeting with colleagues or even a group of likeminded friends, to discuss a topic of interest. This will help you to get comfortable with the nuances of face-to-face interaction once more. It will probably come as a pleasant relief how easy it is after all those draining Zoom calls! If you find you are struggling, work on your active listening skills, which will take you out of yourself and help you make useful contributions when you feel ready to speak. Do some prep If you are attending a conference where you hope to meet useful contacts in your field, you will feel more confident if you have a short ‘elevator pitch’ prepared. Of course, you want to avoid sounding too robotic, but being able to explain in a few sentences exactly what you do will help you to appear approachable and professional. Having some business cards prepared with your contact details is also a very useful way to keep your name and line of work fresh in people’s minds. Ask questions While you need to explain who you are and what you do, avoid controlling the whole of the conversation. Ask your contact about themselves, and most people will be only too happy to tell you. This is a good tactic if you dislike talking about yourself. Listen actively to what they say, so that you don’t miss out on any important details. Ask for introductions As a general rule, people at conferences and networking events like to chat for 10 minutes or so, exchange cards, and then move on. The point of attending is to meet a range of new contacts after all. If you don’t know many people at the event, be brave and ask your contact for some introductions to people with similar interests.
Be aware of non-verbal communication Much communication is non-verbal, such as eye contact, posture, and tone of voice. Remember to speak as clearly as you can, and keep your arms relaxed and by your sides. While you are listening, smiling when appropriate, nodding, and maintaining intervals of eye contact will all show that you are interested and respectful of the other person. If you need meeting rooms in Milton Keynes, talk to us today.