Many people know that I do a lot of networking. A LOT! To the point where I won an award in 2016 at one of my networking groups, which has multiple chapters and hundreds of members, for the “Most Ubiquitous Networker.”
I’ve belonged to weekly lead generation groups and have attended hundreds of evening networking events. Since I am starting my own evening networking event, I thought it a good time to provide a few tips on what NOT to do at one of these types of events.
- Never walk up to someone and say “So, What do you do?”
- the impression people get when you start with that question is that you are immediately trying to evaluate whether they are worthy of further conversation.
- Everyone is worthy of conversation at an evening networking event. The point of being there is to bring more people into your world, even if it doesn’t appear that you can actually do business with them. It’s all about increasing your network as they may know people who are exactly the type of business/person that you ARE looking to meet.
- Try questions like “What brought you here today?” “Who are you trying to meet tonight?” “Where did you go to school?”
- one of my favorite questions to ask is “What’s your favorite thing (or what do you enjoy the most)” about what you do?” –even if they don’t like what they’re doing at the moment, it leaves them with a connection of you to the most positive aspect of what they are doing.
- Never ask for business or leads right then and there.
- Evening networking events are for getting to know people and staying top of mind with people you already know. If you’re the guy pushing too hard, don’t be surprised if people shy away from you at future events.
- Spend your time just getting to know people. Ask a lot of questions. I feel good about a networking conversation if I know that I’ve mostly been listening.
- Never forget to follow up
- I write relevant notes about someone on the back of their business cards so that when I get home I remember to follow up. In the morning, I’ll connect on LinkedIn, make sure I fulfill any promises I made (I’ll send you that name, I’ll invite you to that event, etc.), or call to make that appointment to grab a coffee or lunch.
So there you have it, Three Things to NEVER Do at a Networking Event. Keep your eyes on my blog for more insights.