What are your Do's and Don'ts of networking?
Eating: Do not go to a networking event on an empty stomach and do have an occasional beverage, little or no food. When hosting a business event, remember do not drink any alcohol. Your non-drinking guests will appreciate it.
Baby-sitting: Do not stick with your friends, co-workers or close associates. Networking is a time to meet new people. Do sit at different tables with all new people. You can compare notes afterwards with your peers on the new connections you made.
Business Card Collector: Do not run around the room just to collect business cards. Do meet a couple of people you connect with for the first time and ask them for their business card.
Go through the Motions: It is obvious when someone does not want to be there and they say "I was asked to go" or "It's my job to attend". Do bring some energy and genuine interest to network with others. Mingling and making new connections is the fun part of networking!
Follow-up: Do follow-up with the person in the next day or so, thanking them for their time. Do not simply meet someone and never follow-up again. We all remember the Building Circles Golden Rule for Maintaining Customer Relationships: follow-up, follow-up and follow-up.
Balancing Time: Do not monopolize the conversation and do not spend the entire networking event engaged with one person. Invite someone new to join your conversation and if you know them, make the introductions. It is OK after a while to politely thank them for their time, ask for their card and let them know you look forward to continuing the conversation soon. You will want to meet a couple of new people and finding the right balance will take some practice.
Your Business Cards: Do not forget your business cards. This is worth repeating. Do not forget your business cards. Do bring plenty of your cards to hand out when requested. Building Circles tip for you: always have cards in all your vehicles, in your wallet/purse and carry a business card holder.