Business mixers can be intimidating for anyone, they can also the perfect opportunity to network and build business relationships. If the thought of meeting new people at a business mixer sends a chill up your spine, you’re not alone! I have been networking for years and I still get the cold feet. Unfortunately, these days, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
At The Business Mixer
The Hors d’oeuvre table or near the cash bar can be a great place to strike up a conversation. But be careful, spending all your time there will not make the best impression however.
- Use your left hand to hold your beverage. This will keep your right hand dry and available for shaking hands with others. Vise Versa if you are a lefty.
- Don’t forget your networking tools: Dress accordingly, bring plenty of business cards showing your face (people will remember who you are), brochures, profiles, promotional materials and wear a name tag. From my experience, people love my business cards, I have my contact details on them and my mugshot. Also, they love getting free stuff, so I use promotional material to promote my business, I often hand out hand bags, pens, calendars, note pads etc..
- Name tags should be worn in line of vision. This means on the right, close to the shoulder. When you extend your right arm to shake hands, the eye is automatically drawn to that area.
- Make eye contact, smile, shake hands and say hello. Introduce yourself with your first and last name, your business name and STOP! let the other person ask questions, engaging in sales pitch right away is a No No
- Avoid these topics: politics, religion, sex or money. In other words, stay away from anything personal or controversial. Mixers are not the perfect platform for these topics and you may end up hurting your chances.
- When a business card is offered to you, hold it respectfully and look at it before putting it away. When offering your business card, present it so it can be read, with the printing facing the person receiving the card. Always wait to be asked, before presenting your business card. I try to write something about the person on the back of every card to help me remember the person.
- Never sit down while engaged in conversation if the other person is standing so you’re both on equal footing. It’s best to stay standing the entire time, anyway, so you can keep circulating.
After The Business Mixer
- Intend to Connect After the Mixer: Now that you’ve gathered all of those business cards, flyers, and promotional offers in hand, it’s time to follow up. Send a friendly email that displays your pleasure in meeting the individual. Note the business that they are in and keep their expertise in mind for future opportunity. You never know who could be of service to your next venture!
- Be a connector. Putting people together is one of my favorite things- Always “Paying It Forward” it’s sort of like being a business contact matchmaker. I never know how the relationship will work out, but I generally have a good instinct about what types of people might enjoy working together.