What do you do at a networking event? How do you prepare for conversations?
Effective Networking, an article from Creative Choices highlights and discusses strategies to help you make the most of networking events. Identifying four common approaches to networking, outlined below, the article offers adivce to help you develop ways of improve your affectiveness and results, making the most of opportunities at potentially daunting events!
Four styles of networkers
- The Wallflower: Standing on the edges of the conversation, you are nervous and quiet. If someone speaks to you, you answer politely but dont discuss yourself. Youre sensitive to the thoughts of others, but lack confidence or energy to take action or have more than general chit-chat.
- The Butterfly Collector: You engage in quick fire conversations, giving a lot of energy and making confident first impressions. You get round the room quickly and collect lots of contacts. But, after the event, youre exhausted and bored, so you struggle to maintain contact.
- The Hygienist: You believe networking is a waste of time and you would rather not be at the event. So you eat the food and moan about the experience instead. You dont shake hands with other people as if their hand was too dirty to be touched because you dont see the value in knowing about them and their projects.
- The Salonniere: The Salonniere named after 18th Century women who hosted dinner parties is a modern-day party co-ordinator. They play host between difficult people, trying to find the common ground. You easily forget your own goals, redirect attention away from yourself and use up all your energy.”
A person can be more than one style, depending on their mood, reactions or their well-being. But once you know which one you are, you can work on improving your effectiveness:
A Wallflower should practice role playing, and encourage themselves to speak at a higher level than the level that they think is normal.
A Butterfly Collector should try encourage the use of a system after an event, where they download all of their information and do follow up actions like emailing or phoning contacts straight away.
A Hygienist should go to an event with tasks of engaging in conversation and encouraging collaboration, to focus their mind away from their own projects.
A Salonniere needs to remember what their goals are for being there. They need to find a way to measure the success of an event, through the value they get out of it for themselves.
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