Last updated: 01 September 2019

Networking is essential in different ways. Perhaps you’re into business, an independent professional, work for a company or just looking to build contacts for future needs. You may be meeting people face-to-face, online or (most probably) a combination of both. However, how do you make a great first impression?

I’ve studied Business Administration and hold corporate work experiences. Currently, I’m my own boss (working from home) and in a marketing role. Networking is, therefore, part of what I do…

In this blog post, I’ll share 14 tips on making a great initial impression while networking for success:

Before attending events

1. Set goals

Know your goals by defining what you want to achieve first. How will networking at your next event contribute to your short-term goals? Does it align with your longer-term goals?

2. Research

Thoroughly research your prospects and their companies. Will they be interested in what you have to offer? What makes them tick?

3. Shortlist

Shortlist your best potential contacts to focus your time on. Further research them. Even knowing about their hobbies would help.

4. Find where

Where are your prospects going? Are they attending physical events close to you? Which LinkedIn groups have they joined? Do you have common connections?

5. Be present

Make it to the next event to introduce yourself. A face-to-face physical introduction is a great way to establish contact and build trust! However, you may instead contact them online, depending on the circumstances.

6. Dress up

If you’re going to a venue, then make sure that you have an idea of how to dress up. Will it be formal or smart casual? Do take some time to groom yourself properly by neatly styling your hair and so on. For the ladies, if you wear makeup, then do put on the right amount for a professional look.

During events

7. Be on time

Arrive on time and well-prepared. Feel at ease and relaxed! Greet people you may already know.

How to make a great first impression while networking, Tips from Sharvi.

Photo courtesy Canva. How to make a great first impression while networking, Tips from Sharvi.

8. Be approachable

Be open to meeting and talking to new people. Have an idea of what you’re going to say. How you’ll introduce yourself concisely and effectively.

9. Body language

Be natural, polite and self-confident. Greet people according to the norms. This could be a firm handshake or perhaps another traditional/cultural means, that applies to the relevant place or circumstance. Smile genuinely, make sincere eye contact and show interest in what the other person says.

10. Business cards

If you take an interest in the other person’s activities (and hopefully vise versa), then you’re likely to exchange business cards to have each other’s contact details for later use. In the case of a promising prospect, make sure to ask for his/her card (even if the latter doesn’t ask for yours), without looking desperate.

After events

11. Follow up/result

Do follow up on your contacts. You may connect on LinkedIn. Send them a message to remind them where you met (or instead scan the QR code immediately at the event itself to connect). Engage with their content. The result could be a new client or another type of collaboration in the future.

12. Practice

Keep practicing. Get better at identifying your ideal prospects and introducing yourself. With experience, you’ll have a better success rate.

How to make a great first impression while networking, Tips from Sharvi.

Photo courtesy Canva. How to make a great first impression while networking, Tips from Sharvi.

Ongoing learning

13. Improve

Always improve your networking skills. You’ll get better at making a great initial impression. Don’t let failure discourage you, rather learn from your past mistakes!

14. Natural habit

Network ongoingly or at least regularly. Be present at relevant events. Help others genuinely and grow your network.

Related posts:

15 tips for a successful professional life

14 tips to make the most of self improvement

How to enjoy and benefit from your commuting time

Conclusion

Networking helps you to achieve your set goals. Make an initial impression that stays for the better… Practice, learn from past mistakes, improve your skills and make it a natural habit! Do you have any tips to share? Please do so. Thank you!!

Photo/Image courtesy: Canva

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