I have been to several networking events and it always amazes me at how bad people are at
conversation and making connections - especially Millennials who want my business and
money. Recently, I met this young lady at a networking event and she just happened to be the
one person near me so I tried to strike up a conversation. I tried and I tried and I consider
myself pretty good at chatting up just about anyone, but it was so painful and miserable I had to
excuse myself. This girl didn’t ask me one question or offer more than one or two word answers.
We had exchanged business cards out of politeness and, to my dismay, I received an email from
her later that day. I think there were more words in that email than in our entire conversation in
person. She was a Financial Advisor and she wanted to get together so essentially, she could get
my business. Needless to say, I politely declined.

I don’t want this to happen to you so we put together a couple of tips on how to improve your
experiences in networking, which in turn, can earn you more business in the future.

1) Learn conversation skills and techniques to really connect with people
At a networking event, it can be challenging to break the ice and talk with people you don’t know. Skip the typical niceties and boring weather chat. Be genuine and come from a place of curiosity when you’re talking with people.

People love to talk about themselves and there are simple techniques such as observing and
commenting, a simple touch on the arm, or mirror and matching, which will earn you more
rapport than anything you could ever say. Be a good listener and to find out what they’re
passionate about. You can try to find hooks in what your conversation partner is saying. Hooks
are things that they mention and you can ask questions about to expand on the conversation to
really get them going.

2) Offer more than you want to take away
Getting business cards and following up with a phone call and email is for amateurs. If you want
someone’s business and/or referrals, you really need to take it a step further and first go out of
your way for someone. Provide them with an introduction, referral, or anything else that may
not even be business related. Karma will come around and “the work” you already did will reap
far more benefits than the constant hassling for new clients.

I remember one event when I met a guy who was a Business Broker and we started chatting. The conversation was just getting going, when suddenly he said, well it was nice meeting you and turned around to talk to the guys who work for him and he sees every day. I stood there for a second kind of dumbfounded and bewildered. It was really odd and felt even rude. Of course, the next day he emailed me saying that if I ever want to sell my business, I should give him a call. This guy had most definitely failed at offering more that what you want to take away. Had he invested more into the conversation and then relationship, I could have sent him a referral a few years later when a friend of mine was selling his company and asked if I knew any good Brokers.

3) Build rapport, then you build the relationship
Like attracts like and people enjoy working with people they like. Look for a place of common
ground to build rapport. This can be done by finding something that they have in common so
that will start to feel comfortable. One person has to make an effort to build that connection and build rapport.

Being able to pay attention and read others so one can connect with different types of people can be extremely beneficial. A successful communicator knows how to change their pitch, tone,
speed, delivery etc. and mirror it with the person they’re speaking to in order to make
themselves more relatable and therefore, likeable.

Meeting new people and building relationships can be intimidating at times, but it’s also a fun
and rewarding activity. What other tips do you have that have helped you to network with
people? Leave them in the comments below.