Networking Success Tips with Michelle Whyte

I recently did an Instagram live with Michelle Whyte, who is an expert at etiquette and networking at events. Here are some of her networking tips to help you succeed at your next networking event.

The first thing to remember that I really loved is that Networking is relational, not transactional. If you go into things with that transaction in mind, a lot of times it falls flat because there's no meaning behind it. There's no connection behind it. It's just checking a block. If you really want it to feel less stressful and less complicated, you've got to get really intentional about the way in which you are networking and not just the numbers.

Take Your Emotional Temperature

You have to know yourself first. Know what makes you tick, how you are energized or drained by the event and then plan accordingly. For introverts, it’s ok to take a break. Make a plan, plan your exit, make your strategy for how you’re going to work the room. Set a goal for whatever numbers you want to reach, what are you talking to them for? When you set an intention, then if you talk to three people who seem really aligned and like a good fit to follow-up you have done your job. It takes the pressure off. Showing up relationally really changes the intention of how you move in the room.

Here is her 4 part Small Talk Framework.

T: Talk - This is your talking points. If you know who’s in the room, you will know how you can engage with them. Start with current events, you want to know what’s going on in music, sports, weather or the community so you have these things in your back pocket for when you don’t feel like you have anything to say or lead with.

A: Ask Questions. Be prepared with the types of questions you have. Stop starting conversations with ‘tell me about yourself’. Get specific in the types of questions you are asking. Ask somebody what they are excited about working on right now or a win they are celebrating this week. Or if you know about them, for a branding specialist, it could be “What is the one pose that everybody needs to know?” Make the conversation geared towards the person you are talking to.

L: Listen. You have to be an active listener. You have to get curious about who you are meeting. When you are an active listener, most people will tell you what you need to know next, most people love talking about themselves so they will do the heavy lifting for you. You just have to ask the right questions to get the ball rolling, then really listening to their responses and engaging with intention.

K: Know. Knowing who is in the room, for your talking points. Knowing yourself. Knowing where you’re showing up and what your goals are. Focusing on how you want to show up, who you’re going to be talking with and what you want to get out of the event, engagement or interaction. When you know yourself and who you are going to be around it will help you show up a bit differently.

As you go through the event, keep in the forefront of your mind your goal and intention for the event. If it’s to meet new people, then meet new people. Once you’ve met that goal then it takes the pressure off.

Post Event: You have to have a strategy and a plan for how you best follow-up. Whether that’s an email or reaching out on social. If you have FOMO you didn’t meet somebody, send them a message and say I am really disappointed we didn’t get to connect at such and such. If you say you will follow up, do that. You want to make sure you are keeping your word because that’s a really big part of your brand value and building trust with your community as you expand your network.

When following up, within 24 hours is best, to make it memorable, tailor and personalize the messages you send - make it related to the conversation you had at the event and always end with a question to offer them an opportunity to respond to you. That’s the easiest and most natural way to keep that conversation going.

Listen to the full interview here for more tips like how to deal with a rambler, what if you ARE the ramble, tips for those with social anxiety and more!

Happy Networking!

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