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How to make a lasting impression when networking

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

Have you ever collected a handful of business cards at a networking event, but couldn’t remember who many of them were when you went to follow up the next day?

 

Now here’s a scarier question: How many times have you been the person someone has forgotten? How many business opportunities have you lost because you have blended into the crowd?

 

Successful networking isn't about grabbing business cards and hoping for the best.

 

It's about making a lasting impression and building rapport so a relationship can start to be built even in the brief time you have with them. To help you, here are five tips to ensure you leave a lasting impression at every event and meeting you go to:

 

1. Be engaging

 

When talking to people, be present. Maintain eye contact, show an interest, ask relevant and thought-provoking questions, listen attentively and respond quickly.

 

While you're asking questions and chatting, listen closely for points you have in common. This will help you build rapport, which will make them feel more at ease with you while giving them more reasons to remember you.

 

2. Look to add value

 

When you’re speaking to people, think about how you can help them or add value to them.

 

Is there someone at the event you could introduce them to? Do you know anyone who could help solve a challenge they have? Do you know the person they want to connect with? Could you suggest a good alliance for them? People always remember those who add value.

 

3. Be unique

 

Use your appearance to stand out from the crowd. Be impeccably groomed, wear bright colours, nice shoes, distinctive jewellery or an interesting tie, even a nice perfume or cologne can capture attention.

 

4. Openly participate at events

 

A lot of networking events give you the chance to participate in a discussion or ask questions. Provided you can add value, use this as an opportunity to showcase your knowledge.

 

Share an intelligent point, ask a good question or use a relevant analogy as this will show your professionalism and expertise. Raising a good point or sparking a more in-depth discussion can be a fantastic way for people to remember you.

 

5. Use memory joggers for key information

 

Keep in mind that people aren't going to remember long descriptions of what you do, or likely even your infomercial. People will at best remember a few key things about you: your name, business name, industry and perhaps your specialty and location. To assist people in remembering these points use them in conversation as much as possible.

 

Is there a story behind your business name or branding? Do you have a standout testimonial, a well-known client or a catchy slogan? Use anything that can reinforce your details to people.

 

Do you have any tricks for leaving a lasting impression?