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Developing Rapport when Networking

Eilidh Milnes

three S's of show style share networking tips

Every productive conversation has to start somewhere. 

Aim to become a master of small talk; it's a superb way to develop rapport. When you meet someone for the first time, grab them at the “Hello!” e.g rather than just saying “Hi!” or “Hello!” make it more engaging and easier for them to respond by saying something along the lines of:
  • “Hi…  the buffet looks good tonight, what takes your fancy?
  • “Hello, seems like an interesting group today… the organisers have done a good job…
  • “Hello, well done for making it tonight, don't know about you, I’m looking forward to watching the game later."

Ask yourself...

How do I sound? Do I come over as happy and upbeat? Is my voice ‘smiling? What about your voicemail message? Is it personalised, short and effective? If not, stop reading this post NOW! And go make it so!

Start with a KISS

Exactly how do you greet people at meetings and events? Just where do you begin? With small talk? The weather? Or the headline news? By talking about you? Err no! Keep your focus on the other person. Introduce yourself quickly and get to the point. You could start with popular, "I help people to..." and tell the person what you do framed in those terms. Your input needs to be KISS-able.  Keep It Short 'n Simple!

Field great questions 

Ask your fellow networkers interesting questions such as: 

  • What business problem does your company solve?”
  • What’s the best example you have of how you are doing that?”
  • What has been the biggest win for you/your company in the last six months?"
  • What’s different in your life/business since last year?”
  • Tell me something about you, that’s unusual or unique.”

The 3Ss...

1. Share: What can you share that makes you stand out from the crowd and memorable - use a personal story. 2. Show: That your exposed to the new and latest ideas in your field - quote a case study. 3. Style: Develop your own networking preferences and strategies - if you are on LinkedIn or have a 
Twitter presence, ask them if you can ping them a request to connect. (ensure it is a personalised invitation.)  

Resist any temptation to sell at this stage. It's important that you begin a friendship/relationship/
the "getting to know" process. Ask questions and offer information or solutions. Take on board the 
above tips to develop your off-line rapport as well as your face-to-face networking.
Click here for more networking tips and strategies. 

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