One of the reasons you put yourself out there at networking events is to meet more people. More people, more contacts, more business, right?

“More” in terms of numbers or quantity is often better but to make your networking efforts really pay off, you want the people you meet to see you as more in terms of quality. More competent, more interesting, more professional, more potentially valuable and yes, more likable.

People need to like you before they’ll even be interested in seeing you as more competent, interesting, etc.

Here are 5 emotionally intelligent things you can do in the 5 minutes you spend with people you meet in networking situations.

  1. Be genuinely interested, open and available to meeting a new person in a networking environment. Be your natural, authentic self with your natural, authentic smile; make direct eye contact, offer a firm handshake.
  2. Give a compliment to someone upon meeting them if you already know something wonderful that they’ve accomplished. Offer a compliment to that person later when you’ve learned about something wonderful they’ve accomplished by your asking them intelligent, interesting questions they’ll want to answer. You’ll learn about them by your being a great listener. Remember, the questions you ask are about them, not you.
  3. Ask the person you’re meeting for the first time at least 2 open-ended questions. Questions such as “what do you like most about what you do,” or “how did you decide to get into that.” Open-ended questions enable that new person to open up and become animated and engaged. Closed questions that solicit yes or no answers make that new person remain closed off from you.
  4. Discover something about this new person that the two of you have in common, something that you two share. You’ll discover what you have in common with this new person by paying attention to what makes her/him light up, smile, become more attentive.
  5. Say the new person’s name out loud to them the first time you meet, during the conversation a few times and when you’re both leaving the conversation. Your recognizing and referring to their name will help you stand out to them. And the more you recognize, remember and refer to the name(s) of their partner, children, dog, their recent vacation spot, their passion, the more they will feel connected to you.

The more connected they feel to you, the more they will like you, the more they will want to know you as your competent, interesting, professional, valuable self.