If you have never been to any sort of networking event before, you will attend at least one if not more throughout your professional career, and should make it a point to attend as many as you can. They are excellent opportunities to get to know people working in your field. Making connections is hard, but if you make the effort to do so, it almost always pays off in the long run.
Mingling at networking events can be awkward and intimidating, but not if you listen carefully to what other people are saying. Giving out just one compliment to a stranger has the potential to change their entire outlook on their career, their work and their plans for the future.
Up next, learn the best kinds of compliments to use at a networking event to act as the kind of motivation you wish other people would have given to you when you were struggling to make your career mean something.
“I really admire what you’re doing for [insert industry or niche].”
Especially when it comes to networking events, many people are afraid of what we are all secretly afraid of: talking about our work without anyone else acknowledging the hard work we have done. One of the best compliments you can give to someone at a networking event is acknowledging that you admire what they do and appreciate the effort they have put into their company or career.
It means a lot when you recognize that the work they are doing is making a difference to the members of the industry or niche they are trying to serve. It means even more when you take the time to let them know you recognize it. That person won’t forget how you came up to them and gave that compliment.
“Your passion for [industry/niche] is truly inspiring.”
There are many business gurus out there who are often quick to point out that passion does not alone amount to a successful business or career. That often discourages people from speaking openly about how their passion for a particular cause or industry has led them to great success. If you are looking for a unique way to compliment someone at a networking event, compliment the worthiness of their passion.
It’s a small, secondary goal of any successful person to inspire others to follow in their footsteps, or at least inspire them to go after their own ambitions. It’s almost like giving a double compliment if you tell someone that their passion for something specific inspires you. You might only be one person, but your opinion still matters.
“I can see you’re really dedicated to achieving your/your company’s goals.”
The main thing that motivates many people to continue working hard and succeeding is being reminded that they are doing a good job. Yet many supervisors and CEOs are much quicker to dish out negative feedback and harsh criticism than they are to give compliments. Someone at this event might be at a point where they’re wondering if they will ever hear a compliment again.
Staying motivated to achieve both short-term and long-term goals is not an easy thing to do. Everyone deserves to be recognized for meeting specific goals and staying dedicated to what they do. Dare to be the first person in months who has given that person a metaphorical pat on the back. That compliment might be just what they need to head back to work with more energy and enthusiasm than ever before.
“Thank you so much for sharing your story.”
Believe it or not, most people tell stories at public events and even in casual conversation for very unselfish reasons. It is unwise to underestimate the power of a moving story. When someone shares their story with you, they are doing it for a good reason, and it’s completely appropriate to thank them for doing so. It’s still a compliment, just in a different form.
People tell stories to make other people feel things. There are storytellers everywhere, especially when it comes to motivating other people to change behaviors or take a specific action. Simply thanking someone for sharing a story, whether it was a personal story or simply one that resonated with you in some way, can give them the confidence to continue telling that story wherever they go.
“I would love to hear more about how you got to where you are today.”
People often speak but aren’t truly heard, especially when they are talking about their own accomplishments and the steps they took to become successful. Not being listened to, over and over again, can get pretty old, fairly quickly. It’s a lot harder to be proud of how far you have come when everyone seems to be much more focused on themselves, and doesn’t give you a second glance.
It’s okay to walk up to someone whose story resonated with you, even in a small way, and tell them you wouldn’t mind hearing more. Even if it’s just a general invitation to meet for coffee sometime to discuss business and life. That is what making connection is all about, after all: letting people know that you are listening, and that they should continue to speak even when they don’t feel heard.
Everyone deserves compliments. When it comes to networking events, saying and meaning nice things can go along way. Compliments show people that you are considerate enough to appreciate the work they are doing, and kind enough to take the time to let them know you appreciate them.
The whole purpose of networking is to form positive relationships with leaders and fellow members in your industry or niche. One of the best ways to form positive relationships is to start positive conversations and use compliments to spread positive energy among your peers.
Professionalism is a must in these cases, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop someone along the way and give them an honest and genuine compliment. Positive feedback can make a world of difference. You never know what a random person at one of these events might really need to hear.