3 Ways to Be a Better Networker

I just got back into my daily groove after attending two out of town conferences in as many weeks.
I love conferences. They’re a great opportunity for me to expand my network and meet potential new business partners and clients. You just never know who you might meet in line waiting for a session to start or passing by in the convention center.
But I was not always this in love with networking. I used to be consumed with anxiety prior to a new networking situation – especially if I was traveling to a new city to attend an event alone. With no friends along for the ride to serve as my social airbag, I quickly learned a few coping mechanisms that have helped me amass an enviable network of contacts.
Here are a few of them:
Remember – You are not alone – When you’re attending a conference in another city, take a deep breath and remember – everyone is in the same position as you are. Everyone is nervous and apprehensive to a degree because everyone is looking to meet other people and make new connections. There’s no need to be shy or feel weird about approaching a stranger. That’s what we all came to do – we’re all in the same boat!
Let People Talk – [Tweet “To break the ice when networking, start with a smile. Disarm the other person by letting them talk about themselves. – @amandamogul”]. For example:
Me: Hi, I’m Amanda.
Them: Hi Amanda, I’m Jane.  
Me: Hi Jane, are you based here? What’s your business?
Jane: I run a catering company that works with non-profits.
Me: Cool! That sounds like a lot of fun. How’d you get started?
You’ll find that most people are excited to talk about themselves and will be thrilled to tell you about their business. Just be interested. Listen intently and let them talk. Inevitably, the conversation will turn back to you. So be ready to share what you do.
Have your pitch ready, short and sweet – Be able to sum up your business in a short sentence. When describing your business, tell them who you help, and how you help. Don’t get too caught up on your job title or business name – focus on the impact you make!
At the end of the day, [Tweet “Networking = the art of being interested in people. If you show genuine interest in another person and what is important to them, you’ll never meet a stranger. via @amandamogul”]. And you’ll watch your network begin to grow.
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