The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking
We’re coming into the fall get-busy-again season which means a renewed effort at meeting new prospects and strategic partners. In a previous post we listed the 10 Commandments of Networking. Here are some more tips that can help make your networking efforts more successful.
– Wear something that makes you stand out, still business like and very professional, but something unique that others will remember when you follow up. “Remember me. I was wearing the oriental jacket” or “the jazzy tie.”
– Make sure you have two pockets, one for your own cards, and one for the cards you receive.
– Eat before you go. It’s too difficult to manage a drink and a plate and exchanging cards and shaking hands. You’re there for a purpose. Focus on it.
– Adjust your attitude before going in. Read things that motivate you and are empowering. Listen to music that pumps you up. Think about how people need what you have to offer.
– Go early. Ask to help. You’ll get to see the attendee list and focus on who you want to meet. You’ll ingratiate yourself to the organizer and s/he will introduce you to people you ask about.
– Watch the way you stand. If you want to talk to someone without interruptions, face him/her directly. If you want a third person to join you, face the other person diagonally and leave room for the third to join. Create an open space that acts as an invitation.
– Have a short (less than ten words) framing statement that answers the proverbial question “What do you do?” Make it results oriented so people are forced to ask other questions like, “How do you do that?” Make your answer short. Make it about them, not about you. Ask, “What would be a good referral for you?” “What’s your specialty?” “What geographic areas do you serve?” Prepare your questions and practice.
– Remember, it’s net-work, not net-sit. No sitting allowed. Move around.
– You are there to gather information, not to sell. Selling will fall on deaf ears.
– It’s not who talks… It’s who listens. You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.
– If you go with an associate, split up and work the room separately for double the results.
– Greet people and introduce them to others, find a “wall flower” and shepherd him/her around the room. You’ve just made a friend for life.
– Put your name tag on your right lapel, directly in the line of sight when someone shakes your hand.
Have some other tips you would like to share with us? Please leave a comment on what has worked well for you.