How long should you really spend talking with one person at a networking event?
Some people believe that if they have a good conversation going with a potential new customer, they should keep that going until they have a sale or some commitment. This is absolutely the easiest way to annoy people at a networking event. The only commitment you should get at a networking event is to make an appointment to talk later.
Spend only a few minutes with someone you just met, 5-7 minutes max, then let them go. Yes, I said let them go. Don’t monopolize their evening or they will think you are some sort of desperate groupie. It may feel to you that rapport is being generated or a real connection is being made, but in their mind, they may be wondering when you will leave so they can talk with others.
So, what do you do in those 5 minutes?
- Have a good 60 second introduction.
- Ask lots of questions.
- Make an appointment to talk more in depth later.
- Move on and give the impression that you are very busy with lots of people to see.
Very important…observe body language closely. If their eyes are searching the room, or they fidget much, they are done talking with you and you should gracefully bow out.
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If you find networking events to be awkward or not as productive as you feel they could be, contact me. There is a system to networking effectively which can be taught.