Trade fairs and congresses are all about creating new contacts and expanding on existing contacts. However, for lots of people this isn’t easy to do. Here are 5 ‘hot’ tips for warming up!
Networking software such as the Converve platform makes contact initiation for a lot of people at trade fairs and congresses easier. However, the actual contact establishing takes place ‘live’ between two or more people – and that’s a good thing!
Some people seem to be natural born networkers and seamlessly move around the floor. They seem to simply attract new contacts. Many however are more introvert and often don’t trust themselves to approach others openly and uninhibited. “So you’re also here!” is pretty much the most creative thing they can come up with! Some of you surely know what this is like…
What am I to say…? Networking gives some people serious headaches.
Professional networking is nowadays a core competency in business life. And it isn’t all that complicated if you keep the basics in mind and manage to overcome yourself and jump over your own shadow. You will notice with a little time, practice and lightness that your networking becomes easier and more comfortable.
The shortest distance between two people is a smile – this old wisdom is particularly relevant for business networking! Add this to a sturdy handshake and the sentence “Hello, I’m Joe Bloggs with whom do I have the pleasure?” and the basis is already set.
But what now? Basically, networking depends more on letting your counterpart look good and at the same time finding out more about him/her. He/she who asks, leads the conversation. He/she who only speaks about themselves won’t get far at all.
Try these five icebreaker questions out at your next business event!
1. “Do you come from ABC (where the event is currently located) or are you here on business? “
This is a question that anyone can answer. And, although it is a closed question, it offers plenty of starting points for furthering the conversation. The question is also not too direct; more’s the point does not demand a sales pitch. A good start!
2. “What inspired you to visit the ABC trade fair / congress?”
This way you will find out which goals your counterpart links the event to – thereby where potential points of reference for mutual business offer themselves. Try and avoid the little word ‘why’ as much as possible. This always puts people on the defensive, feeling they have to justify themselves for what they are doing. This would be a conceivably bad start to a new relationship!
3. “How did you find the speaker?”
If the event you are at is a trade fair or congress, the event program obviously offers a lot of starting points for conversation. But be careful: don’t be too negative in your own evaluation of a speaker, as you never know if you might be standing in front of the speaker’s colleague! You never know…
4. “Is it your first time here? “
Even if this question at first glance falls a bit flat, it offers a fantastic springboard to get the conversation in gear. If the answer is “yes” and you are also at the event for the first time, you already have something in common and can exchange your initial experiences.
If the answer is “no, I’ve been here often” you can ask your counterpart about their expertise and ask for advice/pointers regarding things that shouldn’t be missed. So, in both cases you have a good opportunity to let your counterpart look good!
A nice smile is a good starting point!
5. “How well do you know the host/event organizer?”
The ‘classic’ for private parties also works of course for business events. How is your conversation partner connected to the event organizer, has your conversation partner already been to other events organized by the event organizer and so on and so forth. This generates starting points that allow you to present your own business. At the same time, you find out whether you have any mutual contacts – this very quickly assists you in expanding your mutual basis.
The personal contact is a chance you can’t afford to miss. Converve software supports you in doing so electronically. And if you arm yourself with several icebreakers when going to business events, you are sure to have a lot of success – and a lot of fun in the process too!