Whether you are hitting the networking scene for the first time or are a seasoned professional, these tips will help make the most out of your time.

1. Who Are You?
Prepare a “sizzler speech,” a 10-second blurb about who you are and what you do. You start to lose the attention of your listeners after 10 seconds, so keep it brief. If this approach feels too scripted, think of a fun anecdote about why you love your business or industry. Ensure you show genuine passion for what you do; your audience can find it infectious.

2. Smile.
Studies show that people are more comfortable talking to strangers who display positive body language, such as smiling. When approaching a conversation or new acquaintance, take a deep breath and hide any nervous jitters you may have with a warm smile.

3. Listen, Do Not Sell.
Now is not the time to push your sales pitch onto a stranger. Nothing will stop a conversation faster. Now is the time to be an active listener, ready to learn about who the other person is and what they are working on. Want to make a lasting impression? Find out how you can help the other person. The more interested you are in others, the more interesting you become.

4. Put The Phone Down.
One default at networking events is to often keep your eyes glued to the screen waiting for someone to approach you. This habit is not helping anyone, least of all you. If you really want to mix-and-mingle, act like you are ready to meet people before you even walk into a room. This subtle shift in body language projects confidence that will make others more interested in chatting with you.

5. Follow Up!
This simple, yet critical step is often the most neglected. Whether you send a LinkedIn request or a formal email, stretch beyond your comfort zone and nurture those newly formed connections.

Pro Networking Tip:
Have your contact information pre-loaded in your phone. You can instantaneously share your contact card via AirDrop or text.

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce is focused on helping Nevada businesses succeed and create jobs. The chamber provides a variety of resources, including a full-time government affairs team at the local, state and federal levels; educational opportunities and expertise to help business owners make smarter decisions. For more information, visit lvchamber.com

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