I was recently at a networking event and I noticed that there are really good networkers, and not so good networkers.
Which group do you think you are in?
When I meet people for the first time I go on a fact-finding mission. I ask them questions to learn more about them, their business, their attitudes, their everything!
If you don't engage people in conversation by asking them questions about themselves, that is a networking mistake that you need to fix. Like right now.
Connecting with people online or in person takes time - your valuable time - so you want to make it count.
If you meet people and talk only about yourself, you will not gather enough information about them to do proper follow up.
If you don't ask them pointed questions about how they run their business, you won't be able to figure out quickly if you can help them.
If you don't engage them in a conversation that is more than 5 minutes long, you won't be memorable.
And as a result, you could actually be wasting your very valuable networking time.
You can gather information, do better follow up, see if you can help them, and be memorable (and more!) simply by asking questions.
I have been with other VAs in networking situations, and I see it happen all the time - people ask what they do, and they say they are a VA. And that's all.
It's a perfect opportunity to use your marketing message to tell people what you do 'I am a VA. I help business coaches with their online marketing so they can get more clients. What do you do?' works so much better than 'I'm a VA.' Don't you think?
It invites conversation (even if they just want to ask you what a VA is).
And if that is their question - what is a VA?
Then you answer, 'I provide online marketing services for my clients from my own home office. What do you do?'
It opens the door for them to answer what they do. And when they do, you launch your questions. If they say they are a business coach, that's a bonus, but even if they don't you work with it.
'I own a pet store.'
'Oh that's great. Where do you do your most of your marketing?'
You get the picture. Asking questions is the best strategy you can have when networking.
It's an easy mistake to make if you get nervous or if you try to see a lot of people at any event, but luckily it's also really easy to fix!
Try it yourself and let me know how much better you feel after your next event!
Tracey D'Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. To get information about Tracey's upcoming programs and free resources