Making the connection at networking events can feel a lot like speed dating. How can you captivate and make an impression on an individual you only spend five minute talking with? Make the most of your networking membership dollars by following a few simple steps for making lasting connections and developing rapport.

Start with the attitude of meeting other individuals where they are. Take responsibility and control of your membership by actively making a connection.

1. What do you look like…really?

First, you have to connect with people on a visual level. In 15 seconds, outside individuals have already made a visual evaluation of you and decided whether or not they want to engage. In fact, 55{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} of a person’s evaluation of another individual is based on appearance and body language.

The networking event begins before you even walk through the door. If you are not dressed appropriately, you will not make the connection. This means dressing for the event. Do your homework before you go. How formal is the event? What is the industry? All these things should influence how you present yourself.

Presentation also includes body language and facial expressions. Think of this as a casual job interview. Good, but relaxed posture, a pleasant smile, observant and attentive eyes, and uncrossed arms are a good way to look competent and approachable.

 

2. Actively listen

Next, you will make the verbal connection. However, this does not mean you’re the one that will be doing the talking. The purpose of going to networking events is to make the most efficient and effective connections for your business. You alone will be the best judge of who those individuals might be. The best way to collect that information is by listening to others when they speak. Ask them questions about who they are, what they do, and what their goals are. The answers they provide will tell you whether or not this is a connection you want to make. Follow the 80/20 rule: 80{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} listening, 20{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} talking.

Also, if you are willing to listen, people tend to over-share. This information will tell you what problems they have and, more importantly, what solutions they may be in the market for.

In addition, the more a person shares with you, the closer they feel and the more they tend to like and trust you (even if you did not share anything yourself). Listening will give you the platform you need for your next step.

 

3. Build the connection

You have made a positive impression on your potential client when you walked in and you have gathered information about them. By listening and observing, you may also be able to spot their dominant behavior style. This means you know their priorities and can connect with them on a deeper level. Use your 20{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be} talking to tell them your value proposition in a way that is tailored to their unique situation. Refer to things they have told you during the conversation. Show them you care, you see them and their problems as important, and that you appreciate their attention. This kind of connection will make a lasting impression, even if the conversation only lasts a few minutes.

4. Say the Right Thing. Want to DAZZLE them when you introduce yourself? Check out our FREE eBook below!

 

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