Networking can work in your favour to get things you are looking for. However it is not always easy or fun to do, especially when you can be characterised as an introverted person. Although it looks hard to start a conversation with strangers, it is in fact not that difficult. There are just a few things to keep in mind.
In this blog we’d like go more in depth on how to make networking more effective. Especially in the Life Sciences Industry it could be a really specific niche event. They might sound familiar to you; held in the conference room of a hotel, people wearing name tags and all the participants tend to know each other. Then what to do?
The first thing to think of is to ask yourself; what are your goals? What is the reason for you to participate in networking or to join this event? The reason could be to obtain more information, to find a job, to look for partnerships or it might be that you just try to learn more. In this way you will know which people or organisations you need to network with to reach your goal.
By visiting these Life Sciences events, congresses or conferences, you will create a broad network of contacts. Keep in mind that networking is based on building trust and relationships, in this way you will benefit from it and vice versa.
Next to having a clear goal, it’s very important that you need to be yourself to build relationships and trust. It won’t help to act different than you truly are. However, it might be a good idea to practice your first impression, prepare your pitch when introducing yourself. Your first impression is very important, although you have to be sincere, it isn’t a bad idea to prepare your opening. This will define how the rest of the conversation will be. The basic principle is to end your introduction with an open question, because any resistance can be prevented by asking an open question. Think of questions that start with ‘why, who, what, where, when, for whom’ etc. In this way you your first impression will be more confident.
Not only your first impression will make people remember you. Another strategy is to become known as a powerful resource to others. When you are prepared and confident enough to provide them with interesting information, you will be remembered as a strong resource. Do your research! In this way you will know exactly what you are talking about and what might be interesting to discuss with that specific person. Find out who is coming, what they are doing and what their company does. This way you will be able to prepare good questions when you meet them.
By asking open questions you will create discussions and you will be able to show that you are interested in what they have to tell. Besides this, it is also very important to listen carefully. The rule of thumb is that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth, which should be used in the same ratio. In this way you will be able to ask more thoughtful questions and you will show that you are trying to network via a sincere interest and not to promote yourself.
Furthermore, it’s always better to spend more time with few people and have very interesting and qualitative conversations, than to speak to everyone in the room. Always try to follow up with these people. This is actually the most important thing to do, since you will be forgotten if you don’t do this. During these kinds of events, there is a lot of networking going on and therefore it won’t be possible to remember everyone. Write down names and some keywords about these people, so you will remember who you have spoken to and what you’ve discussed. Afterward follow up with these persons, preferable within two days, and write them a personalised message or email. In this way you will give them the possibility to contact you very easily for anything that might be what you were looking for in the first place.