Larina Case wrote the following advice, you can go to her blog too, more nice insight…Larina's blog . Her message is universal, however, does have a small slant toward those who are networking for their own business…well, then, aren't we all our own business?
I am not a comfortable networker, like many others out there. I have to work really hard at it. Many of Larina's pointers initially make me squirm and think, "I can't do that". But what happens is the more I read about networking and the more I step outside of my comfort zone, the less frightened or hesitant I am. I watch others and learn.
Ultimately, you will have to find a style of your own, in the absence of any networking style, try someone else's on for a while. Yes, you will make mistakes, learn and move on. Challenge yourself, work with a friend who will hold you accountable for going to an event. Make it fun. I was working with one client who said she and her friend actually challenged each other to meet at least 1 new person by the end of the networking event.
The following tips make you an exceptional networker, self-marketer, and self-promoter (not in the obnoxious way) by helping you capture attention and get into both short and long term memory.
- Network Yourself. People will remember you if they can fit you into one of their existing mental networks. This might be a person or group or type of people, such as "John Smith's friend," "from the CBI group" or "executive coach." Don't stop here though, use the other tips to make YOU stand out from within that group.
- Make yourself an expert. When you are a subject area expert, people automatically think of you and you don't even have to try to be noticed. For example, at work, select a key aspect of your job and learn everything possible about it and let people know what you've learned.
- Be a magnet. Draw people to you by exuding confidence, charisma, and passion. No one can resist these characteristics- they'll give you a magnetic personality.
- Adopt a signature look. Get noticed and be memorable for your fashion flare. Your signature look can be a color, an accessory, a style (for example, 1950s glam), or a haircut.
- Take a side. Rather than worrying about offending people and choosing a middle of the road position, take a stance. People will respect you for it and it will show your conviction and courage.
- Pay a compliment. Interestingly, focusing on others is a powerful way to be noticed. Pick something specific and let someone know that you like it. For example, tell someone in your networking group what specifically you found intriguing about the way they presented themselves.
- Speak with confidence. Your voice is a powerful tool in getting attention and recognition. Speak loudly, clearly, and at a natural speed (not too slow or you'll be dull and not too fast or people will think you're nervous).
- Smile with your eyes. Research has shown that people find smiles to be most genuine when your eyes scrunch up a bit (don't worry about the crow's feet!). These form of smiling puts people at ease and makes you more likeable and influential.
- Be a great storyteller. One of the best ways to command attention is with an engaging story, preferably one that includes some humor. At work, instead of saying, "The result we got was", tell a bit of the story about how you got their highlighting your role in achieving the result.
Remember that it typically takes multiple presentations before someone remembers someone (or something), so aim to be in front of key players on a regular basis. Keep your message consistent, use the above networking tips, and you will be more magnetic and memorable!