How to Improve Your Business Networking: Navigating Mixers with Confidence
Tips and Strategies for Building Lasting Connections and Expanding Your Network
Many entrepreneurs struggle with networking mixers and find them uncomfortable and overwhelming. In this article, we will explore tips and strategies for navigating networking mixers and building lasting connections with ease.
Objective 1: Get Prepared and Confident.
Conquer anxiety by using policies and procedures that suit you.
Your networking mixer policy should have a purpose for attending mixers. For example, “Attend 2 mixers per month and collect 6 business cards.” But remember to keep goals simple and easy-to-reach. Having easy goals and tracking them will help build good networking habits.
Your policies should include common sense items like:
- Dress professionally.
- Bring at least 20 business cards.
These may seem obvious, but writing them down prevents overthinking, forgetting, and worrying. Set yourself up so you cannot fail and people will notice your increased confidence.
Review your Networking Mixer policies and procedures before every event.
Objective 2: Be Effective at Networking Mixers.
Engage in Meaningful Conversations.
Approach groups with three or more people that contain at least one woman and are in an open circle rather than a closed one. Smile, make eye contact, and start conversations with other attendees. Use Endless Referral questions, such as “What separates you and your company from the competition?” to establish a meaningful connection (Burg 2006).
See the Networking Mixer System download below for a sample system with specific questions to choose from.
Show Interest in the Other Person.
Listen actively, avoid interrupting the other person, and ask questions about their business and interests. Avoid talking only about yourself and establish a genuine connection.
Objective 3: Follow Up and Expand Your Network
Exchange Information and Follow Up.
Exchange business cards with the other people and write down some notes on the back of their cards to help you remember them later. After the event, scan business cards into HubSpot or whatever CRM you use and give them a Potential Referral Partner persona.
Then follow up with the people you met after the event by sending them an email or a LinkedIn message thanking them for the conversation and inviting them to do a one-on-one meeting to discuss potential collaborations.
Achieve Your Professional Objectives.
The professional objectives for business networking can vary depending on your goals, industry, and career stage. Building brand awareness, generating leads, gaining new clients, building a professional reputation, and finding mentors are some common objectives.
Remember: Your goal for the networking mixers should be tiny and easily achievable. If you go to a networking mixer to get new clients, you will be disappointed most of the time. If you go to get 3 business cards, you can succeed every time.
Every quarter, adjust your goals to achieve your objectives. For example, if you are getting too many new prospects, reduce goals to 1 or 2 business cards per event. If you are getting too many, adjust upward or add more networking events or funnels.
Networking mixers can be a great opportunity to expand your business network and build lasting connections. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you can improve your networking mixer experience, establish genuine connections, and achieve your professional objectives.
Remember preparation = confidence. So get prepared and confident. Also, remember to engage in meaningful conversations by showing interest in the other person. Then you can exchange information, and follow up with potential connections.
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- Burg, Bob. 2006. Endless Referrals : Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales. New York: Mcgraw Hill. (Affiliate link.)