Networking Like a Pro: Working the Room
If you’ve been struggling to make the most of your networking opportunities, you’re going to love this next instalment. Likewise, if you’re terrified, like I was, of starting up a conversation with a stranger, then these tips will get you networking like a pro in no time.
If you missed the first instalment of this three-part series, click here to go back and read about Phase One, the preparation phase that will show you how to network like a pro.
I’ll assume you’re now all booked in for your upcoming networking event or property seminar. Now comes the fun part:
Turning up and making some waves in the room.
Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch
Before you head in the front doors, make sure you have an elevator pitch set up in your mind. No need to over complicate it. Your elevator pitch should simply include a 30-second spiel of who you are, and what you do.
As the name suggests, the spiel should be no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, giving you enough time to articulate your focus or approach to property investing.
For example, my elevator pitch might sound like this:
“Hi, I’m Matt Jones. I run a monthly property networking group for like-minded property investors in South East Qld. I love bringing people together and using my contacts and resources to get them started on their property journey. I’ve done a number of subdivision projects and specialise in putting joint ventures together. I’m looking forward to listening to Steve McKnight’s market update tonight and picking up some insights from him that might help me with my current property deals.”
Keep it simple and intriguing enough for people to want to ask more questions. It’s a great confidence booster to know you have something to say when someone asks you why you’re attending the event.
The Most Important Thing to Check Before Your Arrival
So, you have your elevator pitch clear in your head, you’ve dressed well, you have a notepad in hand and you’re ready to meet some like-minded people.
Here’s one last, crucial thing to check:
Are you relaxed and focused? Did you bring a positive and abundant mindset?
Take a breath and remember why you’re investing your time and money into this event. Know that you will affect others in the room, so set your intentions to affect them positively.
A networking event has incredible power associated with it that is often underrated. Time and time again, I see people show up at these events and meet future joint venture and money partners, as well as critical team members and lifelong friends.
Never underestimate the power of a large group of people in a room. The opportunities are mind blowing if you just shift your mindset and allow the possibilities to flourish.
Getting Started: Breaking the Ice at the Beginning
Once you’re in the room, make sure you break the ice early. It’s almost like a football player getting their first touch of the ball in the opening minutes of the game. It settles the nerves and eases you into the night.
A great way to start is by looking for someone who is standing alone. It’s a little easier to approach a loner, and they’ll appreciate you for making the effort.
Have a few opening lines in your head before you start. Keep it simple and stick with event-related topics like, “Have you been along to one of these events before?” or “Which presenter are you looking forward to listening to tonight?”
You’ll find others will want to join in on your conversation, and if that’s the case, welcome them to join in on it. Act like a host and introduce others to your group and include them in the conversation.
If you don’t feel confident doing this, fake it. Be the person you want others to see you as, and do what that person would do. No-one will know the difference, and before you know it, you will build a massive foundation for a more confident you.
Take 10 Paces: Working the Room
Once you’ve got the small talk out of the way, you’ll quickly find that the conversations will lead to more interesting insights, sharing similar experiences and swapping business cards or phone numbers.
Once you reach that point, it’s important to move on and find more people. Hanging with the same crowd all night can limit your opportunities, so when your time’s up, exit gracefully, so you can spark up some new connections.
It’s worth having those exit strategies already in mind, so that you don’t get stuck in the one spot. Short phrases like, “Okay, I want to make the most of tonight and chat with some more people, but I hope we can catch up again later.” Shake their hand or swap business cards and mention how good it was to meet them.
Now, don’t be concerned that you’re all alone again. Simply take 10 paces into the crowd and find another opportunity to mingle. I like to pick out an animated group of three to five people. I just stand on the periphery and wait to be invited into the group.
If you’re not acknowledged within a few minutes, listen out for opportunities for you to contribute to the conversation. Don’t try to change the subject, just go with the flow without trying to take charge or inject an agenda.
Be Open and Sincere: The Value of Networking with Integrity
Make sure to approach the entire event with honesty and integrity. I’d even go so far as to say to let your guard down a bit, and be comfortable being a little vulnerable.
People often resonate more if you reveal something about yourself that shows you’re secure enough to not put up invisible walls around you. It’s a bit like the opposite to bragging.
For example, someone who is new to property investing or feels they have nothing to contribute towards the conversation might say, “I’ve been trying to get into property for years, but never really had the courage to step away from the 9 to 5 normality. Tonight’s a really big step for me, so I’m hoping to find some good information to start laying the foundation.”
Pure honesty goes a long way with the right people. I’m not saying you need to reveal your financial position or discuss the details of your latest wealth creation strategy. Simply allow yourself to be open and sincere in order to let others get to know you better.
Rounding Out the Night: Assessing the Experience and Anticipating the Next
By now you should be feeling pumped up from the energy you’ve been putting out and the positive vibes you’ve received from others.
I know whenever I leave one of our Brisbane Property Group events, I can’t sleep for the next few hours because I’m so excited and inspired by the many incredible conversations I’ve had. When you open yourself up, people warm to you and can be very generous in offering their own story, which is often quite remarkable.
People don’t get into property or any wealth creation strategy for the money. It’s what they want to do with the money that’s interesting, and each person is vastly different in their motivation to generating wealth.
If you feel you weren’t successful in implementing any of these tips, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone has off days, and sometimes it just doesn’t click. Put it down to experience, book yourself in for the next networking opportunity and have another go.
Keep an eye out for the final instalment, where I will focus on the third phase of networking like a pro. I’ll show you how to follow up and maximise the contacts you made with your new-found friends and colleagues.