Would it surprise you to hear that the close rate for in-person meetings is 40 percent? Or that 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking? Most professionals know the value of face-to-face communication with others in their industry, but not everyone prioritizes or particularly enjoys it.
During a recent NAIOP Advantage Series webinar, “Supercharge Your Networking Skills,” engagement expert Shawna Suckow, CMP, helped arm participants with tips and tricks for navigating conferences and networking with ease to accomplish their goals. She shared 10 tips for effective networking. We’ve included a selection here:
- Do some legwork in advance. Find five people you want to meet and reach out to them in advance to set up a time to meet on-site at the event.
- Start with your existing network. Ask a more experienced coworker or mentor to introduce you around during the conference.
- Don’t pitch anything! “The worst thing you can do within a minute of meeting someone … is to say, ‘Hey, I have this great widget, you should buy it,’” Suckow said. Get to know the person so that when you do follow up with them after the conference, you have a human connection, not a transactional one. If you have a real connection, they’re more likely to get back to you anyway.
- Have your positioning statement ready – not an elevator pitch. Simplify it: “I work with _____ to help them _____.” This encourages people to ask “How?” and becomes more of a conversation starter.
- Let them do the talking. Suckow shared this excerpt from a Forbes article: “When they speak, see how you can add value to their idea, project, or business. You’ll get further in networking when others see you as a resource and not an opportunist.” Suckow also encouraged participants to try ending their conversations by asking, “How can I be helpful to you?” It surprises people.
To see the rest of the tips, including six non-boring conversation starters and welcome reception strategies, members can log in to access the archived webinar and download Suckow’s presentation.
Make use of these networking strategies on-site at I.CON: The Industrial Conference, June 7-8 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Suckow will lead several strategic networking sessions throughout the conference, for groups of young professionals to million-dollar dealmakers and more.
Brielle Scott is Senior Communications Manager at NAIOP.