Preparing physically and mentally helps you bring the best version of you to your network. Business networking can be exhausting. If you aren’t preparing both physically and mentally, you might be facing overwhelm before you even show up. Being prepared can take some of the stress out of networking and help you make better connections.

Yes, we know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we are human, we judge whether we realize it or not. Let’s face it, if someone walks into a meeting looking like they just rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes they found on the floor, and never checked the mirror when they headed out the door we automatically think they don’t care about themselves.

Appearance matters. People judge. The mind automatically assumes if you look like you don’t care about yourself, how much could you care about your business. Your appearance reflects on how you work and what you give attention to. If you take care of yourself, which should be your #1 priority, you should certainly be able to take care of them, your potential clients.

The same goes for body language when it comes to appearance. Do you smile? Is your expression one of genuine interest or are you constantly searching the crowd for an escape, or your next victim? What do your eyes say? Are you complete engaged in the conversation before you, or are your eyes shifting and wandering. Make eye contact and show genuine interest in the person before you and make a lasting impression.

Your body language says more than any words you could ever say. When you wear a smile your eyes sparkle, your face softens, and people are genuinely attracted to you. Paying attention with your eyes and your posture makes a huge difference. Be careful not to appear closed off by crossing your arms or curling your shoulders in. This is definitely the time to appreciate and thank the “good posture police” (my Nana was a stickler for good posture.)

Preparing mentally before your meetings is another great way to ensure that you are showing up as the best version of you. There are several things to consider before you go to a meeting starting with your why. Why are you showing up? Think about your reason, not just what you want from the meeting, but what you are willing to offer. Remember, networking is about relationships so your reason for going needs to include your willingness to serve others and what you have to offer.

Think about who you want to connect with ahead of time. Many networking events ask attendees to register ahead of time which really helps in the long run. When you look at who has registered, you can get an idea of who will be there and who you want to connect with, this is especially helpful for introverts. Identify two to three people you wish to connect with and make a point to introduce yourself at the event. If there isn’t a registration list available to view ahead of time, ask the event coordinator for recommendations and introductions.

Know what you want to say. What is your message? How do you answer the question, “So, what do you do?” Here’s an example, “At 30 Second Success we help people develop their 30 second commercials or networking and for video.” (See how I slipped that in there? Yes, that is what we do.) Your brand message is an integral part of every conversation, not just the portion of the meeting where people share their commercials. You need to know your message and how you serve your community.

Turn on your listening skills. Practice being a really good listener and ask lots of really great questions. Here’s some help with conversation starters. Then, let them talk! This is how true connections are made. When you give people the opportunity to be heard without interruption, you begin to build trust…that is where relationships, the whole purpose of networking, truly begins.

At 30 Second Success we help people develop the skills to become truly effective at networking. We start with your brand message and coach you on what, where, and when to use it and how to make connections and build relationships that are heartfelt and authentic. If your ready to “Ditch the Pitch & Start Connecting”™ check out our online courses or schedule a call today.

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