Community building or personal networking is one of the best tools available to further your career be it job search, business relations or freelancing, and personal networking events are like breeding grounds to expand your professional community and gain valuable contacts.
Whatever may be your expectation from these events, your personal impact and communication skills are essential to it. Social Event communication is much more than showing up, grabbing free snacks, and swapping business cards. It's about building new relationships, gaining valuable contacts and expanding your community.
And to get the most out of these events, it is important to prepare for it professionally. Part 5/6
Body language speaks the loudest.
When you meet someone new, introduce yourself by making eye contact, smiling, stating your first and last name. Then, listen for the other person’s name (believe me, it’s easy to miss when you’re nervous), then use it two times while you’re speaking. This will not only help you remember her name, but also make you seem sincere and interested to her.
People are busy and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.
Prepare in advance
Prepare what you will say about yourself briefly. Perhaps two to three sentences stating your name and your work profile would be a good conversation starter. Think of it as a terribly tiny bio for twitter.
Practise repeating it beforehand. It should take you 20 to 30 seconds to say it in regular speaking speed. If you try to say too many things quickly, it will not work out, because often, the other person may miss things or misunderstand, defeating the purpose of introduction.
A terrific idea would be to introduce yourself to the event organizer or the person who facilitated your invite to the event. S/he can then help point you in the right direction and can introduce you to other attendees to get you off on the right foot.
Let the conversations flow
A conversation is not just words – it is so much more, a conversation is the eyes, the smiles, the pauses, and the words.
Be engaged in your conversation and let the other person know of your interest. Take cues from the other person’s body language too.
Craft your conversations considerately
Be clear and specific in your discussions. Ask relevant Qs. Get to know people genuinely. Not only will they feel great about the conversation, but you’ll have gotten to know a lot about him/her, helping you plan and execute your follow-up more thoughtfully. Be careful while using technical terms or industry jargon.
Follow up after the event
A few days after the event, follow-up with acquaintances you would like to continue networking with. SMS, email or call as suitable. Make sure to personalize each email, letting each person know you enjoyed meeting them and mentioning something that you talked about.
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