Now here’s one networking advice I can give you. I’ve had countless opportunities through this seemingly small but impactful gesture. On the surface it’s quite simple: Always say goodbye to everyone when you’re leaving an event! And I know that it’s more complicated than that. Give me a moment to explain, though. It will become essential in your networking toolkit.
Everyone’s so busy
So you’ve been at this busy event and you only knew half of the people there. Everyone was just chatting away having a good time networking. You only had the opportunity to briefly introduce yourself or your business but you didn’t seem to connect to anyone present on a deeper level. I’ve left many events feeling the same until I started to say goodbye to everyone. Not a general “bye, folks” or something but rather at least a brief personal “Good bye, Gina. It’s nice to see you. When will we meet again?” You won’t believe how many people then wanted to get my business card, remembering my short introduction. Try it yourself and you’ll see. I know it works more often than not and I’ll tell you why.
When you first introduce yourself or your business during an event, people’s brains need some time to process and “categorise”. That’s also why some conversations seem to lead you nowhere. Give them some time to process! If they recognise you at the end of the meeting that’s proof that they’ve made a connection. Whatever that may be. Either you or your story were interesting enough that you kind of stuck or they think your business or what you do can contribute to anything they might need.
Make it a point and reserve the time to say goodbye. That also means you need to prepare yourself. So rather than leaving in a rush, try to anticipate how long it’s going to take to make the round and plan accordingly. You may want to think that you don’t need to do that and say goodbye to every single person, since you didn’t even get the chance to talk to some of the people present. Here’s what’s unexpected, though.
Bob may have really liked your introduction and immediately understood what you’re all about. He may also know Sarah who you haven’t talked to. Now Bob knows what Sarah’s business currently needs, because it came up in previous conversations. So Bob tells Sarah that you’re her contact for this. It may not have been possible for Bob to introduce you in person because you were engaged in a conversation. So, all Bob could do was point his finger at you or described you. And Sarah then got caught up in other conversations she prioritised. But she won’t forget her business needs some help any you’re her contact.
A thorough goodbye
If you take your time and thoroughly say goodbye to everyone, Sarah may recognise you from Bob’s description. She will remember and talk to you about an upcoming project. That’s how you can directly make a meaningful connection. Sarah already knows you can help her, even though you may not have directly spoken to her. Only through taking your time to say goodbye was it possible for you to connect on a very positive note.
I know at larger events you can’t connect to every single person and you have to prioritise. That’s all fine. You can try and make one last quick round. You have your good instincts. If your gut tells you someone could be of value, go to them and tell them you’re leaving. If they want to connect, it will happen!
Please, if you haven’t already: Put this to a test and share your experience with me!
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