Top 10 Networking Tips from Chamber Members

By Charlene Elefante

Navigating through a networking event can sometimes feel like solving a Rubik’s cube blind folded with one hand. There are so many do’s and don’ts that can have you feeling confused and ultimately discourage to attend.

To combat some of that confusion and anxiety, here are 10 top networking tips from San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce members:

Be a Sincere Listener

Political Campaign Manager, Christina J. G. Branche said on LinkedIn, be a sincere listener. People are drawn to those who understand how to help them feel comfortable in a conversation.

One of the biggest hurdles in networking is finding that common ground that can launch a deeper conversation leading to a stronger networking connection. This is not an opportunity for you to brag, it is an opportunity to learn about the other person, and the best way to do that is to let them talk.

Reflecting back what you are hearing is great, just don’t be a parrot. Demonstrate genuine interest and curiosity.

Introduce People to One Another

Adam Herbel says to spend your time introducing people to each other.

It’s a great proactive way to become known for positive networking. It creates a sense of reciprocity, because you introduced them to someone they may have never met, then they are more inclined to introduce you to someone as well.

DO NOT SELL

Sales Manager of Cosmopolitan Catering, Tonya Clark Hastings shares this important tip: don’t try to sell someone or something at Networking Events. Ever — unless you are asked a specific question first.

Networking events are about building relationships and making contacts. Sometimes being that person who sells right off the bat can leave a bad impression in people’s mind.

Set Goals

Set an objective for yourself before attending a networking event.

SBA Business Associate Adriana Michel says that a simple goal like connecting with a certain person or settling with a goal of talking to at least five people. Attending an event with a plan leads to better results.

Tuyen Fiack adds, “whatever the reason may be, it gives me a focus on my purpose and after the event, I ask myself if I have reached my goal. If I haven’t, what could I have done better to reach the goal and implement it next time.”

Show Your Sense of Humor

Esther Tokihiro, of the Santa Clara County Office of Education says on LinkedIn to not be afraid to show your (professional) sense of humor! It relaxes both parties and helps to make the conversation enjoyable and memorable while finding common ground.

Be your genuine self. Follow up then with your business card or LinkedIn inquiry.

Remember Their Name

Sounds simple enough right?

Chamber Member, Chad Bojorquez recommends that you remember the person you’re networking with name, there’s nothing worse than having an amazing conversation with someone and then following up with, “what’s your name again.”

Make sure you can repeat it correctly — You may even confirm the pronunciation with them.

Meet a Stranger

Edson Sanchez , of Santa Clara Unified School District, offers this tip, first thing to do is to meet a complete stranger.

You may never know, you might find your next “Power Partner” all because you walked up to a complete stranger. Once you’ve done that, you can then socialize with any other acquaintance at the event.

Look for Someone Who is Alone

SJSV Chamber Ambassador Casey Quisol says she always does this at a Chamber event.

“ I tend to look for people not talking to anyone. I figure these people need to meet someone and want to share about themselves and business. I then take them to somebody I think they should meet. They are likely grateful and will return the favor someday.”

Take Notes - But Ask First

One of our super networkers, Jeff Nott offered this tip.

“I ask if it is OK to make notes on the card as some cultures don’t approve of it. I then take notes about them, their business, good referrals, the date and place of the event. Once we are done exchanging info I try make it a point to introduce them to another attendee preferably a power partner of theirs.”

Be Short, Be Sweet and Be Gone

Adriana Michel said on LinkedIn to be short, sweet and then be gone.

“You do not want to spend the whole event speaking to one person. It goes back to setting goals for yourself, try to at least meet with five people at an event, the only way to really do that is to ultimately, be short, sweet and gone.”

Take these tips with you as you navigate through your next networking event. They will help you make the right connections that can open up doors, grow your professional network, and will make any event seem easy and enjoyable.

Like what you read? Give SJSV Chamber a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.