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In the real estate industry, networking and events are a great opportunity to meet new people, build connections and strengthen existing ties.
To make the most out of networking events, we've devised some tips to consider for maximise their potential for meeting new people and cementing existing relationships.
You need to ensure you have a selection of 'go to' topics that are applicable for any group of people.
Pay attention to current affairs and events, as well as real estate news so that you can talk about things that are topical and of interest to a wide variety of people. Try not to limit yourself to being knowledgeable about just real estate or only talking about work, it helps to get to know people on a deeper level. People are tired of small talk, try and make conversation something that comes easy rather than a chore.
2. First Impression
When you first introduce yourself, what first impression do people get? If you look the part and dress the part - people will see you as a successful person that they want to get to know.
Take a bit of time to style your hair and make sure your shoes are clean. Little details like that go a long way.
3. Have enough business cards
Ensure you have enough processional and informative business cards at your disposal. You want people to have your contact details on demand.
If you run out of cards, take theirs and send them a quick email saying how much you enjoyed meeting them as soon as you get back to the office.
4. Group Work
You need to feel comfortable approaching a group of people, introducing yourself and getting involved in their conversation. This skill can be particularly nerve wracking to some people, but one thing to remember is that everyone is in the same situation. Everyone is there to meet people and to grow their network - they will be friendly.
5. Follow Up
It's a very good idea to follow up. If you agreed to send them your company's quarterly report; send it! Don't make empty promises as part of small talk.
It is good practice, and comes across as pro-active and friendly, to send a note to their email saying hello within a few hours of meeting.
6. Body Language
Positive and welcoming body language is essential for forming a good impression. If you stand with your arms crossed and fail to make eye contact, people will subconsciously see you as a closed person who they don't feel they can approach.
Make sure you stand with good posture, your shoulders back and head up. Try to avoid crossing your arms and keep an open posture. People will subconsciously see you as an
approachable and more charismatic person. Avoid putting your hands on your hip. It connotes being bossy.
7. Work the Room
Try and give everyone ample time but don't spend all the event talking to each group. At networking events, you can easily pick up 20-25+ contacts through talking to new people. If you spend 45 minutes speaking to one group of 5 people, that's not a very productive use of your time.
At the same time, there is a need to invest time in people so that your conversations go past the superficial stage. People want to feel that you're genuinely interested in speaking to them and it will show in your conversation. When you feel the conversation coming to a natural conclusion, that's the time to move on. Ensure you've got everyone's business card and speak to some more attendees.
8. Eye Contact
Former US President Barack Obama used an eye contact technique likened to bees pollinating flowers. When he was speaking to a group of people, he would spend no more than two seconds looking into each member of the groups' eyes before moving onto the next person. This length of time makes that person feel that you're interested in them, and they are part of the conversation, but not long enough to be too intense or unnerving.
Working in real estate, there is ample opportunity to meet people and build your network at events. With these top tips, you can make the most out of your next event, meet useful contacts and potential business partners or clients. Work on these tips, and you will become a networking master!