Posted on 7/29/2015

5 networking tactics you haven’t tried before

Diane DeForest

Networking isn’t what it used to be. With people becoming more and more distracted by constant interaction and stimulation, the art of creating a meaningful connection is changing. And that means it’s time for you to assess your go-to strategies for those handshake-heavy evenings. I’ve been watching people network for 20 years, and that continuous observation has led me to a handful of tips that are key to any successful strategy, whether you’re a seasoned expert or a shy newcomer.

Wear a statement piece.
Your outward appearance is often the only immediate information that other networkers have about you, and giving them something to comment on helps get the conversation going faster. Maybe you’ll bond over a unique set of cufflinks or a love of pocket squares. Or maybe you’ll find someone who shares an affinity for interesting jewelry or a great pair of shoes. In the end, anything you can bond over will strengthen the connection and give you something to refer back to in future conversations.

Chat up the registration table attendants.
Beating the registration rush gives you an opportunity to peruse attendee nametags while also making conversation with the registration table workers. The banter is a good warmup for the networking to come, and you never know what interesting bit of insider intel you’ll pick up.

Make an introduction for someone else.
The fastest way to establish yourself as someone who is well-connected is to … well, connect. If you find yourself in a room with two people who should definitely meet, be the one to introduce them to each other. Even if you don’t get a direct lead out of the interaction, you’ll be remembered as a helpful contact with a great network.

Know the venue.
Not just the address. Do a few minutes of Googling to find out some bit of interesting news or trivia about the host company or the facility, and then dazzle other attendees with your seemingly natural knowledge of interesting and relevant trivia. Plus, it steers you away from the all-too-common talk of weather and current events.

Have recommendations at the ready.
Ever find yourself in a conversation about a book or restaurant or vacation destination that you’re not familiar with? That can box you out of the dialogue pretty quickly, but an easy pivot is to respond with a related recommendation. If someone asks if you’ve read the latest best seller (and you’ve never even heard of it), a polite “No, but I’m loving _______” gives you the opportunity to recommend a different book to the person. Want to really impress? Follow up with the contact by sending them a copy of the book with a note.

For more opportunities to practice your networking skills, check out the Automation Alley Events Calendar.

About the Author

Diane DeForest | Automation Alley

Diane DeForest is director of marketing and events for Automation Alley. In this role, Diane oversees all Automation Alley events, from education seminars and networking events to Automation Alley’s Awards Gala and Technology Industry Outlook. Diane is also responsible for all communication and marketing efforts on behalf of the organization. 


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