In-person networking events have incredible potential to create value. And the best way to create value is for two people to meet, discover they get along, and collaborate on ways they can potentially work together and help each other. Networking is all about forming relationships that create value. But value can never be created unless you follow the proper rules of etiquette. In this article sales and networking expert Danny Manich gives young professionals some advice and how they should act at in-person networking events and how they can get the most out of their interactions.
Danny Manich On the Rules of Networking
The first rule of networking events is to be yourself. If you’re not comfortable being who you are, then the interactions you have will be forced and inauthentic. The people you meet will see right through it and it will be difficult to form any sort of meaningful connection. So just relax, be yourself, and let the conversation flow naturally.
Manich’s second rule is to be interested in the other person. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people go into networking events with the sole focus of trying to sell themselves and their services. If you’re only focused on what you can get out of the interaction, then the other person will pick up on that and the conversation will quickly fizzle out. Instead, try to focus on getting to know the other person and understanding what they’re looking for. Only then can you see if there’s a way you can help them or if there might be a potential business opportunity.
The third rule is to avoid talking about yourself too much. Yes, networking is a great way to promote yourself and your business. But if you spend the entire conversation talking about yourself, the other person will quickly get bored and tune out. Nobody wants to be talked at for an extended period of time, so make sure you’re having a two-way conversation. Ask the other person questions about themselves, their business, and their goals. And then actually listen to the answers.
Danny Manich’s fourth rule is to follow up after the event. This is where a lot of people drop the ball. They meet someone at a networking event, exchange business cards, and then never contact that person again. If you don’t follow up, all your hard work networking will be for nothing. So make sure you send a quick email or LinkedIn message to the people you meet, letting them know it was nice to meet them and that you’re looking forward to staying in touch.
The fifth rule is to have fun. Networking events can be a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network. But they can also be a lot of fun. So don’t take yourself too seriously, relax, and enjoy yourself. After all, the more fun you’re having, the more likely it is that the people you meet will want to stay in touch.
By following these simple rules of etiquette will help you get the most out of your networking interactions and form lasting relationships that can create real value. So next time you’re at a networking event, remember to be yourself, be interested in the other person, avoid talking about yourself too much, follow up after the event, and have fun. If you do all of those things, then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a networking pro.
Danny Manich is a sales and networking expert with decades experience in networking, sales and marketing.