As we come to the holiday party season, it’s time to brush up on your networking tips. All the formal events are great opportunities to show off your fancy suits and and dresses, but they’re also an opportunity to mingle with some people outside your usual social sphere, which can be great for business.
Although there are a few people who enjoy networking, for most of us, it’s a bit of a chore, so we tend to avoid it, but here are some tips for helping you make the most out of your networking opportunities–and maybe even enjoy them.
We know the kinds of things you tell yourself: “Buying the ticket for that charity dinner was what really helps the organization–they don’t need me to be there.” The truth is that there are always dozens of excuses not to go to these events–we’re all busy and it’s hard to muster the energy for one more thing in our day. But if you don’t show up, you won’t make any connections, but, even worse, you’ll have it hanging over your head as something you should do, but can’t. And the next time an occasion rolls around, it will be that much harder to get yourself out.
Networking is like going to the dentist: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Dress the Part
When you’re not in the mood for going out, dressing up is just one more hassle you don’t need. It’s tempting to do the minimum to get by. But, trust us, going the extra mile will make you feel much better. Your clothes are your first visual cue to people that you belong here and you’re someone worth talking to. More importantly, dressing your best will give you extra confidence when you get to the event and help you feel more comfortable mingling.
A smile is probably the most important nonverbal signal you will use all night. A smile helps defuse tension, makes people feel more welcome, and puts them in a mood to converse with you. Perhaps even more importantly, your smile will help boost your mood and your confidence.
But what if you don’t have a smile that gives you confidence? It may be time to think about getting one. A smile is an essential social and professional asset. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has many ways we can give you a smile that will help you feel confident.
Know Your Opening
Most of us that hate networking are terrified by having to start conversations. Once a conversation gets rolling, it’s easier to be comfortable, but starting is hard. That’s why you should prepare a few in advance. Here’s a great list of a few conversation starters that you can consider putting in your holster for when you need them.
Know Your Brand
Once you’re past the starting of the conversation, the next most terrifying moment is when someone asks you what you do. And then you have to come up with a short version of your line that is compelling and unique but honest without being boastful. And that’s hard to think up on the spot. So think of it beforehand, and practice your personal brand statement regularly. Refine it after each networking opportunity so it will be better next time.
Just as important as knowing what to say is knowing when not to say anything and let other people talk. This is when you practice your active listening skills. Listen to what people say and ask questions to learn more about who they are and what they do. That’s how you know whether you might really be able to work with the person. It also helps them feel that you’re a good person that they might like to work with, too.
If you make any connections, don’t forget to contact them after the event. Otherwise, it’s all been for nothing. And if you don’t follow up with people, pretty soon you’ll get a reputation as someone it’s pointless to talk to because you never actually pursue any business.
Tulsa is an active city with a thriving business community. It’s also very competitive. If you feel a new smile will help you be more competitive, please call for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist.