Not single and ready to mingle?

Networking is one of those business necessities.  It’s great for meeting peers in your business community, getting a new message or cause out there, and of course, to sell prospective clients.

In a world where we are obsessed with Facebook Messenger and Tinder, how do you hold back from swiping right and get amongst it and network your pants off?

Being (not) single and getting out there to mingle does seem somewhat of going out on the pull.  Or maybe that’s just me.

 

 One beer in

You’ve registered and stuck your cheap name badge onto your chest.  (If it’s a really good event you may be blessed with an outrageously coloured lanyard).

You’re in, making fleeting eye contact with the odd person here and there as you head to the bar or nearest waiter.

Error number one.  In my experience, networking can be extremely daunting, especially when walking into a room of strangers.  I always recommend going in like you own the place – say hello straight away and remain calm and smiling.  Don’t overdo it mind, you don’t want to be ‘that guy’.

 

Two beers in 

So you’ve circumnavigated the room at least twice; checked out everyone and worked out who else is in the same situation as you.  Bingo!  There’s for your first in…it can be hard breaking into other people’s conversations, so why not start with someone else who’s in the same boat as you.  Gotta start somewhere no?  They will be as happy as you are to be talking to someone else so go for it.

I have always found taking the lead initially really helps me get things rolling.  Hey, im Scott.  How are you?  What’s your name.  The usual pleasantries will soon follow.   You want to know more about the other person, what their interests are and what they’re at the event for.  My advice here is to be interested not interesting; after all we’re all just normal people.  Having a hard sales stance and immediately deciding if this person is of no use to you and wrapping up immediately is extremely rude in my opinion and unnecessary.  Take a few moments to engage and then politely shake hands and say ‘it’s been great to meet you, hopefully catch you later on’ but give the other person the time that they deserve with respect, the same way you would want to be.

 

Three beers in

Now you’re warmed up and the beers are kicking in….you’re off and there’s no holding you back.  You’re going all guns blazing, chatting to everyone in the room, swapping business cards, telling stories and sharing experiences.

By this stage, you will have met various other people at the event.  I have always found that the best networkers are those that connect the dots.  Linking people in the room together, they will do the same in return.  It’s a great way for everyone to share networks and also for you to find those that you really want to connect with as conversations get more specialised and purposeful.  It may not work every time, but you just don’t know who knows who.  And that’s the whole point right?

 

Four + beers in

The golden rule…..do not get pissed.  Im all one for having a good time and getting to know people, but you really don’t want to embarrass yourself on a first date!  Always be mindful that you’re at a business event, being hosted by someone else so behaving appropriately and considerately is paramount.  Arrange to meet new friends for lunch or drinks post event if you really connect, but don’t go crazy at someone else’s gig.  It’s a networking event not a Saturday night debauched party at a mates house.

 

The morning after the night before

One thing im really keen on with my team is the follow up.  Just like on a date (it’s been a while since I had a date, so bare with me here!) – it’s all about checking in the next day.  You don’t want to leave your new connection hanging in the balance; especially if you really connected.  This said, even those that you swapped details with but didn’t necessarily have an immediate requirement for are still worth dropping a note to.

 

Conclusion

The Kouki & Co team are keen networkers… I myself have been networking for many many years at in the various sectors that I have worked in.  I encourage my teams to do the same.  It takes practice and stamina…and helps push you out of your comfort zone.  I have made fantastic business associates and also friends through networking and for me, it is always extremely rewarding when you make a sale from a networking event or help someone else too by connecting others.

 

So go on, get out there and mingle.  Single or not.  Maybe myself and the Kouki & Co team will see you out there!

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