Guest Author Kristie Sheanshang, Sales Trainer and Certified Image Consultant
Have you ever wondered how some people can talk to anyone, while others turn green in anticipation?
Many people I’ve trained and coached have shared their displeasure of talking to a group of strangers in a networking session. Many claim it’s a fear of rejection or the fear of having nothing to say. They’re not alone, approximately 75% of people are nervous of public speaking.
Flair created these seven strategies to achieve networking success. First wear your favorite outfit. I firmly believe when we dress our best we build our confidence, even if our stomach is full of butterflies. Second, walk in with a swagger, open posture and your magnetic smile.
Flair Confidence Boost – People are much more drawn to you if you smile!
According to smile studies: smiling breeds trust, makes you happier and helps you to live longer. Smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. Women who smiled the most lived happier lives, happier marriages and had fewer setbacks. The people who smiled the most turned out to live 7 years longer than those who didn’t.
Third, follow the S.M.I.L.E. method to work the room:
- Set a Goal – Preferably prior to the networking event. Decide how many meeting you want next week and try to meet 2xs that many people. Do background research so you will recognize them and know their industry lingo. If you are trying to build a niche of doctors, business owners, young professionals, etc., go to industry events and rubber chicken dinners they will attend.
- Mingle – One of the easiest ways to get in the groove at a networking event is to seek out the familiar face of a friend or center of influence, preferably not someone from your same company. Have some warm up conversations, tell them your goal, your niche and ask them who they can introduce you to. Move to next group. Repeat.
- Icebreakers – It can be tough to walk up to a stranger and start conversation, no matter how confident you are. So having a line ready to go in order to generate conversation is crucial. Open ended questions are the best way to find out your desired info. Click link (http://flairconfidence.com/2017/06/dreading-small-talk/) to 10 powerful networking questions to keep awkward silence and fruitless small talk at bay
- Listen Actively – Take the attitude of “getting to know someone” instead of only collecting business cards. Yes, you are looking for your next prospect, but you will have better luck if you are truly interested in them instead of looking for the next sale. Make the conversation all about them, not about you. Listen 80% of the time. Your goal is to learn information that you can reference when you make a follow-up meeting request and Link In email. Figure out a system not to lose this intelligence, take mental notes (do not write on business cards) and then send yourself an email with these notes asap.
- Elevator Speech – This is a short explanation of what you and your company do, including any new products/service ideas you want to interest them in. I like to add a fun fact too. Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. If you can, add information or a statistic that shows the value in what you do. As you draft it, answer “What do I want them to remember most about me?” Then Practice. Practice. Practice. Especially in front of a mirror, you’ll be amazing how many times you stutter, have bad eye contact or strange body language. Your speech is ready when it makes you excited to share. Your smile and enthusiasm is remembered as much as the product or service. I’ve included mine as an example: “Hi, I am Kristie Sheanshang, a sales trainer and image consultant with Flair. I inspire and develop leaders around sales, networking and executive presence – All the while courageously encouraging them to be their authentic self. I’m also an avid golfer and co-author of a book. How do you schedule time for “play”?
“Your Network is your Net Worth” (John Maxwell).
Networking is a practiced skill of how you effectively move about a room to make the most contacts, gain information and build relationships. Remember, you are building relationships as you are building your book of business. It can be satisfying and it can be intimidating. When you’ve mastered this method, you will hear people saying “She can sell Ice to the Eskimos” when describing you.
For more information, please contact Flair (http://flairconfidence.com/).
Need more tips and tricks to stand apart at a networking event? Check out our Sales Guy Unplugged video “Brand Yourself” by clicking the button below for additional help!