Advice for Students

10 Tips to Finesse Your Networking Savvy for Business Success

October 29, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

People do business with people that they like.  What is one of the best ways to start building your contact base and create opportunities to increase your business?  Network!  Networking provides professionals with an opportunity to come into contact with like-minded men and women of various backgrounds and develop mutually beneficial relationships with them based on trust, consideration, credibility and respect. It also provides professionals with an opportunity to start building a rapport with the people or high-value prospects you meet at networking events and create the potential to continue to build that relationship long after the networking event is over.

In order to do so, it is crucial that you are able to conduct yourself with confidence and poise during a networking event to ensure that you project a professional image and always leave a great first impression.  Follow these 10 tips to finesse your networking savvy for business success:

1.  Do your homework.  Have a plan or strategy for each networking event you attend. Is it simply to extend your network?  Is it to connect with a particular target market with whom you have been wanting to do business?

2.  Dress for success.  Communication experts believe that 55% of the total message presented by a person during a first meeting consists of that person’s personal appearance. Like it or not, how we dress does have an impact on people’s perception of us. So dress professionally.

3.  Make an effective entrance.  Everyone watches the entrance to a room. Use this to your advantage.  Enter with confidence. Don’t make a dash for the food table or bar.  Once you enter the room, pause, step to the right, scope the room and decide whom you will approach to have your first conversation.  And then move forward to do so – start mingling.

4.  Make appropriate eye contact.  When you are speaking with a someone, envision a triangle at the their eyes, bridge of the nose and forehead – this is where you gaze should be held in a business situation.  Hold the gaze 40-60 percent of the time.  Appropriate eye contact helps you to really focus on the person with whom you are having a conversation and listen actively. It makes you a better listener.

5.  Always keep your right hand free.  Hold your drink, napkin, cocktail plate, etc. in the left hand.  Keep your right hand free so you are able to properly introduce yourself and shake hands with people, as well as access your business card and accept business cards from others.

6.  Master the handshake.  It should be firm – no bone-crusher or limp-fish handshake.

7.  Be aware of your body language.  You want to be engaging and put others at ease, so be aware of what you may be saying just by your body language. Hold your posture well, have a smile on your face, and when conversing with others stand in a semi-circle in order to encourage others to join you. A circle format closes you off and discourages others from approaching you.

8.  Be well-informed.  Read a paper or watch the news.  This helps with small-talk.  Small talk does not have to be profound or original.  It is what we say to others to be polite.

9.  Actively listen during a conversation.  Never interrupt or finish another person’s sentence.  While we think we may be helping, we simply come across as impatient and take away any value the other person may be offering.

10.  Remember your business cards, and remember to bring enough. Ensure they are clean, crisp and accurate.  Keep them in a nice business card holder so they are protected.

If you need help to finesse your networking skills in order to better promote yourself and your business, I would love to work with you!


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