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ABN- Always Be Networking

If the thought of working a room makes your palms sweaty, you aren’t alone. (Trust us.) Here are our tried and true tips to always be networking while keeping your soul and sanity intact.

1. Be happy. Fact: joyful, happy people attract others. Be happy. Be warm. Welcome conversation genuinely and with enthusiasm.

2. Be an intent listener. Not everyone will communicate the way you do. If you find yourself beginning to tune someone out, work to maintain an engaging conversation. Listen intently and ask questions.

3. Bring business cards. How many of you have gone somewhere thinking you wouldn’t make a connection and then feel silly for not having business cards? We don’t care where you are going – you always need to have business cards on your person and your elevator pitch ready to roll!

4. Have hobbies and talk about them. Small business owners are passionate about what they do, but often, their work isn’t the only thing that defines them. Being well-rounded (personally and professionally) gives us more to talk to others about. Maintain hobbies that you love and don’t shy away from bringing them up in conversation!

5. Roll with a wingman (or wingwoman). Here are Front & Center, we like to roll 2-3 deep. Why? Because having conversations with strangers makes our hands clammy and our tongues tied. When we approach a crowd with a support system, though, we fare much better. We also suggest listening to some motivating or upbeat music prior to arrival. Think: Beyonce. (Yaaaaas, Queen!)

6. Have some canned icebreakers. Think back to some great conversations you’ve had with people you didn’t really know. How did you break the ice? What worked? Alternately, when you’ve had stilted conversations in the past, why were they awkward or difficult? Think about these things before you attend an event and use past wins (or losses) to your advantage!

7. Have your elevator pitch ready. We mentioned this above, but it is worth mentioning again. (And again, and again...) Have your elevator pitch ready to roll at networking events. We suggest delivering it to yourself in the mirror often, as this will make it easier to lay on others. Practice makes perfect!

8. Get creative with your follow up. Fans of the handwritten note rejoice! We want you to get creative with your follow ups. Did you talk about an article someone hadn’t read, but should? Mail it to them with a quick note. Did you talk about a fabulous, locally-owned coffee shop that could offer some partnership opportunities? Mail them a gift card for a coffee and ask for a meeting to discuss your thoughts in more detail. Email is fast and it works (assuming your intended’s inbox isn’t completely out of control) but it is also very impersonal. Be a flamingo in a sea of pigeons. Send the snail mail.

Need help crafting that perfect elevator pitch? Could your brand (and business cards) use a facelift? Holler atcha girls!

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