As the business world expands, competition in every field increases. Can you really afford to destroy your first impression at a conference or networking event? The best way to appear confident and poised is to dress appropriately for the event, know what your agenda is for it, and come prepared with a compelling 15-second elevator pitch on yourself or your vocation specifically tailored for that event.
The following tips will help you avoid the most common mistakes people make when attending and approaching clients and partners at conferences and networking events:
Top 6 Don’ts
1. Don’t spend all your time talking to friends.
It’s always good to catch up with friends and especially those you haven’t seen for a while but if you’d like to grow your business from networking it’s also important to make time to connect and chat to people you don’t know.
2. Don’t barge into conversations.
If you would like to join a group, wait until there is a break in the conversation, and gracefully join the group by asking “May I join you?” Introduce yourself, and shake hands with everyone in the group.
3. Don’t jump into a business discussion with anyone you meet before making small talk and establishing rapport.
This is only acceptable, if you join a group whom are speaking on a particular topic that you have just joined. You are not selling potential clients on your services, you’re selling them on the idea that you’re the correct person to administer those services and someone with whom they would enjoy doing busin
4. Don’t wear your name badge on the left side.
A name tag should always be on the right hand side making it easier for people to read your name whilst shaking your hand. If it is on the left hand side, you are forcing people to scan across your chest when trying to find your name tag.
5. Don’t Forget the Elevator Pitch.
Perhaps the greatest networking tool at your disposal. An elevator pitch is a conversation, or an ice breaker, that will hopefully lead into a deeper dialogue about the functionality, and specialty, of what you and your company can offer.
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6. Learn how to keep your beverage on your saucer, along with a few items to snack on.
This makes it easier to carry everything with your left hand, keeping your right hand free and clean to shake hands with guests.
Above all, keep in mind that networking isn’t about short-term gain, but about learning, growing, and forming connections. Adopt good social habits, and you’ll see your skills and comfort improve, your opportunities increase, and your relationships grow.