If you are studying Business English at the high-intensity level that Unique Language Training demands of our students, you will no doubt be ambitious and ready to succeed. We send our Business English tutors out with our students to help them to network at the many events that are held in London and I thought I would share a few pointers that we give to our students to help them to network in Business English effectively.
Beware the curse of too many questions
A conversation should be as naturalistic as possible, but often at these events, it just becomes a series of questions and answers with little or no relevancy. Remember to ask "follow-up" questions that link on:
1) "So, what brings you here?" "I'm in the market for a new PA"
2) "Really? So, what are you looking for in a PA?" "Somebody with good interpersonal and organisational skills."
3) "I know just the right person."
Too often, networking consists of a series of random questions that have no connection with each other.
Have a Goal
Try and aim for something at the event. It could be to practise your English as much as possible, or it could be to develop your elevator pitch to 30 seconds, but try and have a few small goals and even have one large goal to aim for.
Target your Networking Skills
If you are able to check who is attending the event, take a look through the list of people attending and take a mental note of anybody who might be able to help you or your business. If you are a commercial lawyer who spends 20 minutes talking to a dog trainer, it might not be the best use of your time.
Learn how to get in and get out
If three people are having a conversation, it is difficult to cut in. 99% of the time, people are welcoming so just go straight in and say "hello". Do not hover around as people will be aware of you and will wonder why you have not just joined the group. Leaving is a little more difficult as you need to do it diplomatically, It is best to just be fairly direct and say "It was good talking to you. I am going to mingle a little more."
Pay attention to the person that you are talking to and listen to their answers. Demonstrate this with rejoinders such as "Wow" or "That's amazing". Check your understanding with follow-up questions and tag questions.
Show social savvy
Do not dominate the conversation. You might have a great theory about why England's defence is not as good as the German defence, but a ten-minute monologue to a doctor from Australia might not be the most appropriate time in which to expound on said theory. Look at the eyes of the person you are talking to (which a lot of people don't - incidentally) and make sure that they are not scanning the room. If they are, drop out of the conversation or change topics.
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