’Tis the season for social gatherings of all kinds. While these parties and get-togethers may not be true networking events, this doesn’t mean you can’t make meaningful connections and expand your professional circle. At non-networking events, people may feel more relaxed, which can lead to more authentic, organic conversations.
Worried about doling out your business cards and killing the vibe? No worries — Quinisha Jackson-Wright, a staff writer for The Muse, has some tips on how you can network without putting a damper on everyone’s social experience. Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for her suggestions.
1. Talk less and listen more. This is the first rule in networking, whether or not you’re attending a true networking event. Stay in the moment and hear what the other person is saying. Don’t make a running list of what you want to add to the discussion. And remember that most people talk about their work at social gatherings anyway, Jackson-Wright says, so allow the conversation to drift there naturally.
2. Get to know the other person. What commonalities or interests do you share? Maybe your kids go to the same school, or you both enjoy the same hobby. If you want to go a step further, Jackson-Wright recommends taking a few minutes after the conversation to make a note of anything unique for future reference. When you follow up or see the person again, you can mention one of these small details.
3. Focus on quality conversations. Don’t rush from one person to the next, just trying to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. It’s better to chat with fewer people but engage in more in-depth discussions.
4. Add value in a small way. When you’re at a social event, don’t ask any big favors from someone right away. Instead, flip it and think about what you can offer or do for someone else. Jackson-Wright says it doesn’t have to be anything major. Even just giving a recommendation for a great local shop or restaurant can show you’re not just talking to someone because you think you can gain something from them.
5. Casually ask to stay in touch. You could ask the other person to exchange phone numbers or social media info, Jackson-Wright says. She suggests waiting a few days and then reaching out with a quick message or text saying how you enjoyed meeting them and you’d like to take them out for coffee or lunch to continue the conversation.
Parties, cocktail hours and other casual events can be prime networking opportunities. Follow the tips above to mingle and make a positive impression — no elevator pitch required.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Quinisha Jackson-Wright is a freelance marketing consultant, U.S. Navy veteran and part-time staff writer with The Muse.
Published with Permission from PPAI