There’s still an opportunity to connect with your audience even after you step down the podium.
Start networking at the end of your presentations—build rapport, solidify your core message and start to build meaningful relationships with potential clients and partners.
So how do you go about it?:
1. Think Ahead
Don’t just stick around after your presentation and wait for people to approach you with their questions. You have to be proactive in your networking.
Open an avenue for conversation. Let your audience know that you’re willing to talk at the end of your presentation. You can include this in your closing spiel.
2. Make it About Them
Body language and physical cues are important in conveying that you’re present and available during conversations. Don’t repeatedly check your watch or phone. Don’t let your eyes stray around the room. Instead, show warmth and enthusiasm in the tone of your voice.
Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation and end it with a firm handshake. According to the Young Entrepreneur Council‘s Andrew Vest, being sincere and genuinely interested in meeting new people, rather than with a hidden agenda in mind, is more effective in establishing lasting relationships with your network.
3. Relax and Be Yourself
In relation to the previous point, being true to yourself is essential in gaining people’s trust. Tensing up because you feel the need to expand your network after a presentation might drive people away.
One way to make this process easier is by allowing the other person to share their thoughts about what you presented. Let them ask questions or give feedback. When you listen attentively to what they have to say, you’ll easily figure out how to work the conversation.
4. Find Common Ground
Exchanging contact details is probably the most crucial of all networking tips. Lasting business relationships aren’t built from a few minutes of chatting in an auditorium or boardroom. The real work begins with connecting and following up with the people you met.
To maintain your connection with previously established relationships, make sure to find common ground from the get-go. This doesn’t just mean you’re both in the same industry or have the same work. You can find interests you share on a personal level, like your inspiration to venture into the field, etc. You can also put people at ease by offering a mutual benefit to them.
Thankfully, today’s technology also makes this step more convenient. Write them an email or connect via social sites like LinkedIn.
Re-introduce yourself briefly and bring up the points you talked about. For this part, it’s important that you take note of individual conversations so your messages can have a more personal feel.
You can also include a link to your uploaded PowerPoint deck, especially if you’re connecting with someone who was particularly interested in your presentation.
Keep these networking tips in mind to maintain engagement even after your presentation is over. Your core message won’t get lost if you take the time to converse and build relationships.
As with most things in life, a business thrives in communication and interaction.
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Featured Image: VFS Digital Design via Flickr