Article | Fabulous Women

How to be a great networker

Posted on 24/04/2012 Are you making the right first impression?
First impressions count, particularly in networking situations. How can you be sure you're making the right impression? And why does it matter? This quick read looks at why it's so important to think about that crucial first impression.
In a crowded market, there is one thing that will make your business or service be remembered. And that one thing is you. So it's important to ensure that you are putting across the best of yourself at all times.
7 steps to creating and maintaining a positive impression:
What do you look like?
You will make an impact by how you look. It is more important to have polished shoes if you are a solicitor than if you are a fitness trainer, and a fitness trainer would dent their reputation by smoking. Take care with appearance because first impressions dont quickly go away.
How do you walk into a room?
Confidence is key. Hold your head high, walk tall and smile. Shake hands firmly and look the person in the eye when you speak to them. Arrive on time (or early) to ensure you are relaxed and ready rather than rushing through the door at the last minute.
What do you say?
After introducing yourself, ask a question and stay curious rather than talking about what you do. It is likely that everyone will meet 10 or more people at a networking event. They won't remember everything you say so, make sure what you do say is clear, concise and memorable.
How well do you listen? Think about how you feel when someone you are talking to is looking over your shoulder or forgets what you said. Then think about how good you feel when you have someones undivided attention. Listening will create a better impression than trying to sell. So, be attentive: ask questions about the other person's business, hobbies and life.
How positive are you? Are you a glass half empty or half full person? If you tend to be critical, consider what impact this will have on the people you meet. Dont talk negatively about someone else or their business. Instead, try to find something constructive to say. Be honest, fair and state facts if asked about someone else. What impression are you giving of yourself when you criticise?
Can you be relied upon? Common courtesy counts for a lot. Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it. If for some reason you can't, make sure you tell the other person before they have to chase you. Always reply to emails, particularly ones addressed to you personally. Even a quick and simply one-line email will create a positive impression. Say thank you for a referral or for information.
Are you a giver or a taker? Try to be supportive and contribute to your network. Make an effort to introduce people, offer referrals and bring people to meetings. Even offering expert advice (when it's asked for) is giving. People are more likely to want to support you and your business if you have a reputation for being generous.
Now you have these seven key steps, make sure you put them into action. Creating a positive, memorable, lasting impression will be invaluable if you want to get results from your networking. And, lastly, remember these wise words from a wonderful woman:
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." (Maya Angelou)
Juliette Smith Regional Director The Athena Network, Reading Follow Me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AthenaReading Tel: 01628 509571 Mobile: 07770 986316 Email: juliette.smith@theathenanetwork.com

Back Author : Charlie Thomas

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