“I went to an event last weekend with the hope of connecting with one of the big names in my industry. I was all prepared and have rehearsed my speech over and over again that I was almost confident of not just talking to him, but also exchanging business cards.

There he  was, exchanging pleasantries with other dignitaries in the event. He moved towards my direction, saving me the stress of having to cut through the teeming crowd to get to him. He was a few inches away and here was my moment. But suddenly, I froze!

I couldn’t find my voice nor myself when he passed by.T hat was how I lost the opportunity to connect with him — a once in a lifetime opportunity .”

This is Femi’s story. A tech entrepreneur trying to connect with one of the influencers in the tech industry, but wasn’t able to when he got the chance.

Networking stands out amongst the most essential skills for entrepreneurs today can leverage to succeed faster and reach their potential investors. The networks you build– socially and professionally– after a while, turns out to be a precious asset.

Business people will agree that a contact made at a get-together may eventually furnish them with one of the key elements needed for their businesses to strive.

You may have attended events in the past and wondered how some individuals seem to effectively maneuver their way around rooms, talk to large numbers of people and even seal business deals. If you thinking they must have prepared for it, you are definitely not wrong. However, you can also be a successful networker by practicing the following steps– it’s not such a hard nut to crack!

Craft a one-minute elevator pitch

One of the most important tips is having a one-minute ‘elevator pitch‘ about your business idea or a tagline about yourself. That is, a few words you can say after your name when introducing yourself. Your elevator pitch should be able to describe your distinctive competence.

Suggested Read: 6 Keys on Pitching to Investors by Gary Palmer

Check the keynote speakers’ list beforehand

Before the event starts, make effort to go through the event website for the key speakers and connect with them on their social media platform, especially on Linkedin and decide who you particularly want to speak to and what you want to talk to them about.

Go with someone

Establishing contact with someone may look difficult especially if you are introverted or shy. But not to worry, If you feel awkward and tense about it, go with someone who is not and ask them to help you break the ice, introduce you to the people you want to meet and in the midst of the conversation, you chip in your business ideas. Also if you feel trapped while talking, the person would come in and cover up for you.

Arrive early

Get to the event venue before time. This helps you to keep a relaxed state and also check the name tags to see who among the speaks has arrived. You may be lucky enough to pitch to a speaker who came on time before the events start and avoid the rush that comes at the end of events.

Avoid tight corners

Avoid spending too much time at the bar, food spot or in dead areas where it is difficult to move and connect with another person you want to talk to after establishing a connection.

Get drinks for people who are having a good conversation

You can be generous enough to get drinks for a group of people you want to meet and spark off the conversation from there. Your kind gesture will grant you their attention and it won’t be pain starking to sell your ideas to them.

Ask open-ended questions

If you’re feeling a bit awkward or nervous at the event but you need to keep conversations bubbling, you can try asking open-ended questions.

Questions that start with words such as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ open up a conversation, on the other hand, questions that only require a closed response such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ tend to shut things down and end the conversation.

Do these help? Hit the comment section to share other networking tips you know.

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Content & Social Media Strategist @ Smepeaks.
I get the bits and put together a story...