Building your brand professionally in large part stems from your ability to connect with others effectively in person. B2 principal Kyle Parks gives some tips on ways to start meaningful relationships while you’re attending an event.
Be in the know. Stay informed about news that affects your community, nation and world. By increasing your knowledge, you open a door to conversation that can lead to a valuable business connection. Often, you will be able to talk about a trend or topic that is of interest to the person you are meeting.
Know the type of person you want to meet. Know the names and brief backgrounds of people you would like to meet at an event or gathering. Wait for an appropriate opportunity to introduce yourself to those you wish to speak to. Being direct – but not pushy – is key to making a promising connection.
Connect in the moment
Listen and respond. Be attentive when talking to someone. While the other person is talking, listen and think of followup questions that can broaden the conversation. This will allow people to describe their jobs or personal interests in more depth.
Move on. If you find yourself becoming disengaged in a conversation, politely excuse yourself. It is rude to remain in someone’s presence, only to look over their shoulder deciding who else you want to talk to.
Make a connection. If you and your new acquaintance believe a promising business connection has been made, exchange business cards. If you are unsure or do not foresee a connection being made, it is fine to take a business card without making a specific promise to follow up. Never promise to return a call or get back to someone if you have no intention of doing so.
Get involved. If you join an organization, do more than just go to events. Get involved by joining a committee or helping with an event. The people you meet through this involvement will be people who can introduce you to others at the next event, creating a larger network.