There is no doubt that networking is important for your career. But many People have simple Anxiety before, or don't know how to start making contacts properly: just start talking? Watch and listen first? In the end it's a matter of type.


It really requires work

But one thing is also clear: networking is not just simple nice smiling and making small talk, on the contrary, it takes real work.

Right at the beginning, for example, there would be the right preparation: if you want to network, you have to make it clear which ones Set he pursues and who he wants to meet. Because every conversation is a kind of miniApplicationfor which one should be prepared.

Preparation is everything!

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This means researching as much information as possible about potential interlocutors in advance - from the professional position to personal interests that can be experienced in social networks.

Also in the conversation is full commitment required: You have to listen, answer - and quietly ask even if you have not understood something. This gives his interlocutors a good feeling.

Status questions and follow-up

But it is also important in conversation, always on one eye level to stay - status questions should of course be clarified. And when the conversation is over, the networking is by no means over, it's much more that it only really starts now: the follow-up follows.

Of course the sorting and systemisation of business cards - but not only: It is also important to keep a book on the information exchanged and to keep an eye on interesting business partners.

Lead_Digital_Networking contacts

Small talk like a Nobel Prize winner

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It is said of the physicist Richard P. Feynman that he almost turned down the Nobel Prize because he was afraid of having to talk informally with princesses and diplomats at the reception that followed. Trade fairs like the dmexco, which will take place again in Cologne on September 16th and 17th, present many people with similar ones Problems:

The largest industry meeting of the German Online-Marketingscene offers almost unlimited possibilities for networking, but without the right one Strategy it's hard to make good contacts. We show how to do it.

Make your own goals clear

At the beginning there is the preparation: Who wants to network, has to make clear what goals he pursues and whom he wants to meet. Because every conversation is a kind of mini-application, for which one should be prepared. This means researching as much information as possible about potential interlocutors in advance - from the professional position to personal interests that can be experienced in social networks.

What is the best way to get in touch with these contacts? There are different ones ways for example casually at the exhibition stand, specifically with an appointment or at events. At trade fairs like the dmexco, many important conversations are also held at parties: In your personal network and on social media, you can find out which events are particularly interesting. “Especially for introverts is a goal-oriented Planning useful. This is where your analytical skills come in handy,” says the introversion expert Dr. Sylvia Löhken.

How do you get into conversation?

Once this first hurdle has been overcome, it is time to begin: How do you start a conversation? “In the business world, inhibitions are expensive. While one is unobtrusively networked with a lot of people, the other, perhaps even more interesting, remains reserved - and therefore below his options, ”says sales trainer Oliver Schumacher. He recommends looking for common ground in conversation partners and listening rather than speaking.

For example, with the question: “How did you find the last one Lecture?” or “Have you taken anything away from the event?”. He finds the attitude “let's see who I'm giving something to today sell can". It would be better to say: "Let's see which interesting people I will get to know today." For Schumacher, it's all about sympathy. Because: "People buy from people."

Please no phrases

The management trainer advises against lapses learned from outside the box Dr. Cornelia Topf away. Ideal: “You should prepare two or three specialist topics, even if it is the weather. But you mustn't bore the other with your own area of ​​expertise. Humour helps further!” Many people's fear of Small Talk has a simple reason. "Actually, they want to be loved," says Topf from her experience. It helps not to take yourself too seriously.

The best way to start the conversation Ask, because they signal interest. The act even with people who absorb every beginning of a conversation like a sponge because they don't answer. It depends on the type of question. Closed questions like “Don’t you find the event very exciting?” are rather bad. "What can you answer to that? Actually only yes or No – and in both cases the conversation is over before it even begins,” says Topf. To get a longer answer, it makes more sense to ask open-ended questions that start with "how", "why", "why", "what for", "what for" or "what do you think of it?" begin.

Attention chatter reflex

What can be avoided, on the other hand, is what the management trainer calls a chatterbox reflex: “The more insecure people are, the more they talk, get on the nerves of others and achieve exactly the opposite of what they want. Good small talk is about listening and the other person talking. Nobody likes head teachers and frequent speakers. ”

Events with many friends are ideal because networking is easier here: You can simply ask someone to introduce another person. For this to work, the old rule applies: “Don't ask what others can do for you, but what you can do for others”. After all, networking is always a give and take - only in this way can everyone benefit from mutual recommendation marketing.

The fear of embarrassment in small talk

Many people are not only concerned about starting a conversation. The fear of embarrassing yourself through ignorance is almost even greater. So what to do? Pretend hypocrisy where there is none? Just nodding understanding? Everything is wrong, says management trainer Topf and is calm. “When it comes to small talk, honest interest in the other person is important.

And nothing profiles them as experts more than the interested inquiries of a layperson, to whom he can explain everything. So Topf recommends escaping to the front, for example like this: "Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly does this app they are talking about do? ” Then of course you have to follow your counterpart and, if necessary, ask further questions of understanding - a challenging task.

Dealing with persons of respect

It can be difficult to have an innocuous conversation with someone you particularly respect or someone higher up Status has. visibilityTraining Nathalie Schnack advises establishing eye level: “Make it clear to yourself that you are just as important in this situation as the other person. The same goes for your intended goal. Treat the other person respectfully and positively! "

In any case, according to Schnack, status is not permanent, but is constantly being renegotiated by unconscious signals. And precisely because, for example at an event, it is not always entirely clear who has what status, it can useful be to wait and see before taking action – as psychologist Chris Wolf suggests: “I take my time and empathize. Then at some point a very pleasant small talk arises of its own accord and everything is fine. The 'trick' here is just serenity."

Offensively encourage exchange of business cards

Even if networking is more to you light falls, it does not have to be particularly productive. At large trade fairs like the dmexco in particular, everyone has dozens of discussions. But once the event is over, a lot is in view of the sheer mass of impressions fast forget. Here helps efficient Follow-up, keyword contact management.

At the end of a conversation, you can aggressively address the exchange of business cards - this also has a signal effect for all other participants. It helps to make notes about the content on the business card immediately afterwards. If you want to make it easier for network partners to remember, you can have your likeness printed on your own card. Because later it is difficult to link names to faces and topics. A business card scanner or the Xing mobile phone scan function help to assign the card to a social media profile with a photo. Xing or LinkedIn can then be used to research further points of contact for cooperation. Sales trainer Oliver Schumacher recommends: “If the phone is picked up after the personal meeting, the conversation will not start clear lighter. Because now there are first similarities, namely the entertainment at the event. This will likely make the callee listen more interested and sympathetic.”

Better the right than too many contacts

Good networking does not mean having an infinite number of contacts, but in some situations it is exactly the right contact. Sylvia Löhken therefore advises that contacts be continuously expanded and maintained over a longer period of time: “That means keeping a regular record after the events: Who did you meet? What do you find interesting? What information about your conversation partner do you want to keep? Only then can you see the real benefits and your relationship work will bear fruit. ”

The tips of the experts show one thing: anyone who believes that a few casual conversations are enough to successfully network is wrong. Especially at a major event such as dmexco, good preparation and follow-up work is essential. This means researching in advance exactly who you would like to meet where and where to keep a close eye on contacts and conversations. Only in this way can an event be used efficiently. And in conversation: Just do not be too shy, but always calm and respectful.

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Checklist: 10 tips for networks at major events

How do you network properly? Especially at anonymous big events this can be difficult. We have put together the most important tips for you.

  1. Salutation: Whether "you" or "you" depends on the framework. Those who dozens create closeness, those who win choose for more distance. Choose the form of address that makes you feel more comfortable.
  2. Go easy on every conversation: you can only win!
  3. At an appointment: Prepare yourself. Inform yourself about the interlocutor and possible topics. Be punctual or give notice of delay.
  4. Topics: Talk about technical topics, but avoid personal problems
  5. Even if you have a goal: Do not fall into the house with the door. Building a professional network takes time.
  6. Show respect: Let others finish, listen attentively and with concentration, do not interrupt. Switch off your mobile phone silently or completely to be able to pay full attention to the conversation.
  7. If the conversation is unproductive or even annoying the conversation partner: Wait a reasonable while and remain courteous before you go on an excuse - eg going to the toilet - the distance. The more inconspicuous, the better.
  8. Faux pas committed: Excessive excuses only make matters worse.
  9. Business Card: If your business associate offers a business card, be sure to look at it shortly before putting it away. Your own business cards should look neat and not kinky.
  10. Follow-up: Keep a record of whom you talked about when and when. Write down position, birthdays and interests. If you still lack facts, research them. Social networks like Xing provide a lot of information and note functions.

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