Networking 101: Frequently Asked Questions
etworking is one of the most productive and cost effective ways you can spread the word about your business. The Chamber’s award winning networking program is the best in the Greater New Castle County area. Over the next few weeks, we will be running articles to help you get the most out of the Chamber’s networking events. If you would like to build business connections in the most efficient way, take a look at the FAQ’s below. How do I approach a group that is in conversation? First, let’s start with saying that you can always look for a Chamber Staff member or Ambassador and ask them to introduce you to a few people. But what if they are preoccupied with someone else at the time? You can approach a group of people if there are three of them and there is an opening in the group that you can step into. Most people understand that this is very awkward and they will be very accommodating when you join the group. When there is a break in the conversation, introduce yourself and say something about what they were discussing or ask about their businesses. How do I start a conversation?
The biggest challenge at a networking event is often the opening line -- what to say to a stranger that doesn’t sound
How do I work the room? Focus on "one" conversation at a time-- don't try to "work the room." Find a way to make the large group smaller. Join a table with just one or two people. You have succeeded at a networking event if you only walk away with one or two connections. It's not always a numbers game. What do I say when someone comes over to me? forced or awkward. Solution: Attach one phrase to your nametags: "Ask me about..." and then fill in whatever topic you want to talk about (could be about your kids or a movie you saw, try not to make it about your business but more of a topic that everyone can discuss). All you have to do is ask them about their topic and you can listen and add in. Another suggestion is to ask them about what they do? Where they work? etc. How do I get out of a conversation? If it doesn’t feel like the conversation is going well, an easy way to disengage is to politely excuse yourself, saying you don’t want to monopolize their time. Alternatively, grab a colleague and introduce them and then excuse yourself. You can always excuse yourself to the restroom and say it was a pleasure to meet you. Lastly, you can say, “Please excuse me, I have a colleague that I need to meet.” Again, say it was a pleasure to meet you.
Come in with a list of questions like the following: • You can always comment on the food or the room/hotel the event is in. • Try asking what their favorite _____ is (insert book, movie, sports team, etc.). If they say "I don't have time for _____" then ask-what keeps you busy? • What do you wish you had more time to do? • Where is your favorite city or vacation spot? • How did you get into your current field? • Glance at a newspaper before the event and start talking about the latest headline. (Find a safe topic to discuss.)
Important things to note: Don't pressure yourself to be something you're not. Focus on being the best you. Remember, first impressions count. What is the best you? A good listener? A friendly person?