Face to Face (F2F) networking is still one of the best ways to find and build the network of business people that will enhance your ability to have a successful business. Yes, I know Twitter and Facebook is built on a “network” of contacts but I am finding more and more business people like and appreciate the F2F contacts. They like the human touch.
I believe that is the reason F2F business networking is so popular. In actuality networking is really the process of selling people on you. You want the people you are interacting with to have a sense of trust, that you are genuine and have a real interest in them so that you can continue the interaction.
Since the true F2F networking purpose is building business relationships then it is incumbent on persons doing F2F networking to build familiarity through the networking. You need to start with a good impression. You also need to be consistent creating a repeated vision of who you are.
Repetition promotes quick recognition of your brand, your product and your services. In F2F networking you have a potential of the networking group.
Consider that in most networking meetings the room will be filled anywhere from 30 to 60 people (average). If this is your first time you may not know anyone of them. They also do not know you; however, they each have networks of contacts, so the potential for you to increase your business connections is meaningful.
And so the first impression: the first step is you. You can enter the room with your ego at the forefront… all about me, me, and me. Or you can enter ready to engage with other people, to learn about them. Are your ears at the ready and your mouth at rest?
The potential customer or person that you are connecting with is going to form an impression of you, you the “person”, as soon as you walk into the room. Your self-confidence will be in tact if you have taken the time to be prepared. Preparation includes these key points:
˚ Know your purpose/goal for this meeting
˚ Establish your presence
˚ Be consistent, engaging, and positive
˚ Be a good listener
˚ Tell your story in short terms – an elevator speech or brief statement of who you are and what you do will help.
˚ Make notes about the people you meet so the next time you meet you can reconnect.
Good business networking practices take time to master. Repetition of good habits will ensure you take advantage of your opportunities.
Lastly, remember that people remember only a small amount of what they learn in any given day. You are lucky if one of the messages they remember is yours. So if you are going to do F2F networking put some effort into it. After you meet your networking group several times they will come to recognize you as one of the persons they would like to establish business relationships.
Good business networking practices take time to master. But repetition of good habits will ensure you take advantage of your opportunities.