This last weekend I attended a mixer at a large music agency in downtown Nashville. I had a half dozen people walk up to me, rattle off their name, hand me their business card and run. Here are 5 things I’ve seen really skilled networkers do that work:
1. Engage the person right off the bat.
It sounds simple, but people often miss the basics. Start with a firm (but not too firm) handshake and a genuine smile. Make eye contact. Make sure you’re breath doesn’t stink, etc. I know- crazy, but so many people forget these basics.
2. Point out something non-business related and include it in the conversation.
At the mixer I noticed one of the people at a music publishing firm had the exact Apple Watch band that I had. I brought it up, and we had a fun little conversation about Apple Watch bands. This week when I texted to follow up, she immediately remembered the Apple Watch conversation. Giving people something non-business related to remember you by will help you stick out.
3. Don’t monologue about what you do.
People are always more interested in their own stuff than what you’re doing, so keeping your answers short will keep them engaged. If you tend to ramble, practice explaining what you do in 15 seconds or less before you go to a networking event.
4. Get a professional to make your business card.
It’s amazing to me how many people who claim to be in marketing have ugly or illegible business cards. Your business card is your first impression, and a poorly designed one will reflect poorly on your professionalism.
5. Follow up.
Send a short text or call (if appropriate) a few days after the meeting explaining that you enjoyed meeting them. If it’s appropriate, send a link to your music or work. Never send a generic link to your music. Personalize it like this:
Hi xxx- it’s Eric. Great meeting you at the mixer! Here’s a link to that song I made that I promised to send. I’d love to hear your opinion- you hear so many songs, and I’m sure you’d have a great perspective. Thanks!