It really requires work
But it is also clear: Networking is not just nice smile and small-Talken, it requires the right work properly.
For example, the right preparation would be right at the beginning: if you want to network, you have to be clear about what goals he is pursuing and whom he wants to meet. Because every conversation is a kind of miniapplicationfor which one should be prepared.
Preparation is everything!
This means researching as much information as possible about potential interlocutors in advance - from the professional position to personal interests that can be experienced in social networks.
Also in the conversation is full commitment required: You have to listen, answer - and quietly ask even if you have not understood something. This gives his interlocutors a good feeling.
Status questions and follow-up
But it is also important in the conversation to always remain at eye level - status questions should of course be clarified. And when the conversation is over, there is no end to the networking, much more it is only now really going on: It follows the follow-up.
Of course the sorting and systemisation of business cards - but not only: It is also important to keep a book on the information exchanged and to keep an eye on interesting business partners.
Small talk like a Nobel Prize winner
The physicist Richard P. Feynman reports that he nearly lost the Nobel Prize because he was afraid that he would have to talk casually with princesses and diplomats at the reception afterwards. Fairs like the dmexco, the 16. and 17. September again in Cologne, many people are facing similar problems:
Although the largest industry gathering of the German online marketing scene offers almost unlimited opportunities for networking, without the right strategy it is difficult to establish good contacts. We show how to do it.
Make your own goals clear
At the beginning there is the preparation: Who wants to network, has to make clear what goals he pursues and whom he wants to meet. Because every conversation is a kind of mini-application, for which one should be prepared. This means researching as much information as possible about potential interlocutors in advance - from the professional position to personal interests that can be experienced in social networks.
How do you best get in touch with these contacts? There are various ways, for example more casually at the exhibition stand, specifically with an appointment or at events. At fairs such as the dmexco, many important discussions are also held at parties: the personal network and social media are the best places to find out which events are particularly interesting. "Targeted planning is useful, especially for introverts. Your analytical skills will benefit you, "says the introversion expert Dr. Sylvia Löhken.
How do you get into conversation?
Once this first hurdle has been overcome, it's time to get down to business: How do you get into conversation? "In the business world, inhibitions are expensive. While one networked unobtrusively with many people, the other, perhaps even more interesting, remains restrained - and thus below its potential, "says sales trainer Oliver Schumacher. He recommends looking for similarities among interlocutors and prefer listening rather than talking.
For example, with the question: "How did you like the last lecture?" Or "Could you take some of the event with you?". Rather damaging he finds the attitude "Let's see who I can sell something today". Better is one: "Let's see what interesting people I will get to know today." For Schumacher, it is all about sympathy. Because: "People are buying from people."
Please no phrases
The management trainer advises against lapses learned from outside the box Dr. Cornelia Topf from. Ideal: "You should think of two or three subjects, be it the weather. But you must not bore the other with your own area of expertise. Humor helps! "Many people's fear of small talk has a simple reason. "Actually, they want to be loved," Topf knows from her experience. It helps to not take yourself too seriously.
The best way to start a conversation is to ask questions because they signal interest. They work even with people who absorb every approach of conversation like a sponge, because they do not answer. The nature of the question is important. Rather bad are closed questions like "Do not you find the event very exciting?" "What can one answer to that? Actually only yes or no - and in both cases, the conversation is over before it has started, "says pot. To get a longer answer, it makes more sense to ask open questions starting with "how", "why", "why", "what for", "why" or "what do you think of that?".
Attention chatter reflex
On the other hand, what the manager of Mangement describes as a quasi-reflex is skinnable: "The more insecure many people are, the more they talk, they get on others' nerves and achieve exactly the opposite of what they want. Good small talk is that you listen and talk to your counterpart. Nobody likes senior teachers and frequent speakers. "
Ideal are events with many acquaintances, because networking is easier here: You can simply ask someone to introduce another person. For this to work, the old rule is: "Do not ask what others can do for you, but what you can do for others." After all, networks are always give and take - this is the only way for everyone to benefit from mutual referral marketing.
The fear of embarrassment in small talk
Not only the start of a conversation causes many people headaches. Almost even greater is the fear of embarrassing oneself in conversation through ignorance. So what do you do? Imagine suspicion, where none exists? Just nod in understanding? Everything wrong, so management coach pot and calm. "When it comes to small talk, honest interest in the other person is crucial.
And nothing profiled these as experts more than the interested demands of a layman, to whom he can explain everything "Therefore, Topf recommends the escape forward, such as this:" Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly makes this app that they are talking about? "Then of course you have to follow your counterpart and, if necessary, ask further questions of understanding - a challenging task.
Dealing with persons of respect
Difficult can be a non-verbal conversation with someone who is particularly respected or has a higher status. Visibility Coach Nathalie Schnack suggests establishing eye-lift: "Be aware that in this situation you are as important as the other person. The same applies to your intended destination. Respect the other respectfully and positively! "
Anyway, according to Schnack status is nothing lasting, but is constantly renegotiated by unconscious signals. And just because, for example, at an event, it is not always clear who takes what status, it may be useful to wait and watch first, before you become active - as the psychologist Chris Wolf suggests: "I'll leave me Time and feel. Then at some point a very pleasant small talk and everything is good. The 'trick' here is just serenity. "
Offensively encourage exchange of business cards
Even if networking is easy, it does not have to be very productive. Even at large trade fairs like the dmexco, everyone is having dozens of conversations. But when the event is over, much is quickly forgotten in the face of the sheer mass of impressions. This is where efficient follow-up helps, keyword contact management.
At the end of a conversation, you can offensively address the exchange of business cards - this also has a signal effect for all other participants. It helps to make notes on the contents immediately after the business card. If you want to make it easier for network partners to remember, you can have your photo printed on your own card. Because later names are difficult to link with faces and topics. A business card scanner or Xing's scanning feature for your phone will help map the card to a social media profile with a photo. At Xing or LinkedIn, further points of contact for cooperation can be researched. Sales trainer Oliver Schumacher recommends: "If the phone is picked up after the personal call, it is much easier to start a conversation. Because now there are first similarities, namely the entertainment at the event. This will probably make the person called more interested and benevolent. "
Better the right than too many contacts
Good networking does not mean having an infinite number of contacts, but in some situations having the right contacts. Sylvia Löhken therefore advises to continue expanding and cultivating contacts over a longer period of time: "This means keeping a regular record after the events: who did you meet? What do you find interesting? What information about your conversation partner do you want to keep? Only then can you realize the real benefits and your relationship work bears fruit. "
The tips of the experts show one thing: anyone who believes that a few casual conversations are enough to successfully network is wrong. Especially at a major event such as dmexco, good preparation and follow-up work is essential. This means researching in advance exactly who you would like to meet where and where to keep a close eye on contacts and conversations. Only in this way can an event be used efficiently. And in conversation: Just do not be too shy, but always calm and respectful.
Checklist: 10 tips for networks at major events
How do you network properly? Especially at anonymous big events this can be difficult. We have put together the most important tips for you.
- Salutation: Whether "you" or "you" depends on the frame. Whoever creates, creates closeness, who wins, decides for more distance. Choose the salutation that makes you feel better.
- Go easy on every conversation: you can only win!
- At an appointment: Prepare yourself. Inform yourself about the interlocutor and possible topics. Be punctual or give notice of delay.
- Topics: Talk about technical topics, but avoid personal problems
- Even if you have a goal: Do not fall into the house with the door. Building a professional network takes time.
- Show respect: Let others finish, listen attentively and with concentration, do not interrupt. Switch off your mobile phone silently or completely to be able to pay full attention to the conversation.
- If the conversation is unproductive or even annoying the conversation partner: Wait a reasonable while and remain courteous before you go on an excuse - eg going to the toilet - the distance. The more inconspicuous, the better.
- Faux pas committed: Excessive excuses only make matters worse.
- Business Card: If your business associate offers a business card, be sure to look at it shortly before putting it away. Your own business cards should look neat and not kinky.
- Follow-up: Keep a record of whom you talked about when and when. Write down position, birthdays and interests. If you still lack facts, research them. Social networks like Xing provide a lot of information and note functions.
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