Whether it is to develop your career, your business or even your activity, networking is essential. Do not think that getting in touch virtually via Linkedin or this good old Viadéo is enough, real relationships start in real life and this is where networking comes in. In this article, I suggest you browse together best practices in this area…

Before you start, if you don’t know where to find events related to your activity, two tips:

  1. Go to Meetup.com and look for events in your theme, I’m sure you will find what you need!
  2. Browse the sites and blogs references in your activity, the events are often announced on these supports!

Have you found the event you need? Have you gone back to the block and are you ready to develop your contact network? So here we go!

1: Get ready!

Like a champion ready to enter the ring, you will prepare for the event. As training:

A: check your business cards (they must be up to date and in sufficient number).

B: ask about the participants, if you went through Meetup.com to register, the site offers a list of participants. Find the most interesting profiles for you and take a look at their Linkedin profile. Take the opportunity to get in touch with them, it will make things easier on D-Day.

C: prepare your speech : train yourself to present yourself effectively, understandably and quickly and take the opportunity to prepare 2/3 standard questions that will help you break the ice during networking.

2: Concentrate on your contact

Don’t flutter too much, nothing more annoying than chatting with someone who is not interested in what you are saying, looking elsewhere and already preparing his speech for the next person …

Really care about the person in front of you. The exchanges will be much more constructive and will be more likely to survive the networking event. Know how to listen, ask interesting questions and stand out from the crowd.

3: Prefer quality over quantity but know how to be effective

Advice that goes hand in hand with the previous one. Prefer the quality of the discussions to the quantity, it is better to have 2 discussions leading to contacts which will bring you on the concrete behind than 15 unqualified contacts. It’s all well and good to fill your case with business cards, but if they stay in this pretty case, it won’t do much for you.

Conversely, do not waste your time either with contacts incompatible with your need or activity. Know how to be attentive, have quality exchanges, but cut exchanges when necessary.

4: Don’t be self-centered

Yes, you are there to develop your activity and make contacts but do not be self-centered. Nothing is more annoying than someone talking about themselves and their company without giving the floor to their interlocutor. We talk about networking and exchanges, know how to listen to the person and bounce back on their needs by showing them that you have the solution to their problems (if that is the case of course).

5: Connect as quickly as possible

Don’t wait for an event to shake up the conversation and for your contact to be forced to leave quickly. Remember to give your business card after a few exchanges and why not make an appointment to discuss the possibilities of collaborating together. Without going into the formal meeting, you can also offer a lunch, moreover I encourage you to test for this purpose, LikeLunch, an application precisely helping you to network and plan lunches. This startup also won our startup of the month contest last July.

6: Be yourself

Finally, one last tip. Be yourself ! It is essential to properly prepare your networking to be effective, but remember to stay natural. Too much preparation can distort this natural side, so “relax”!

Show your personality, whether it is your qualities or faults. It is often this which will allow your contacts to remember you!

And you, do you often participate in networking events (breakfast, evening, lunch …)? What are your best practices? Tell us everything via comments or on Twitter 🙂