What are your Do's and Don'ts of networking?
We usually do not like to be called names, however, I have been called "The King of Networking" and "The Connector". I am truly humbled and honoured some of my peers see me this way. Thank you. You inspire me to keep working at it and overcome my own challenges to keep growing, connecting others and create opportunities for others.
Here are some of my tips and would like to hear some of your tips to help us network better.
Arrive Early, Linger Longer
Arrive early to take in the venue, talk to the organizers and the greeters before the crowd rolls in. If there are tables, choose one that is central and faces the podium/stage. Do not sit down yet!
If there are exhibitors, make your rounds with them, exchange cards and wish them a good event. Tell them your story and ask for them to keep you in mind and you will do the same for them to connect them to anyone who may be interested in their products/services.
Linger longer instead of leaving early. This is challenging sometimes and remind yourself not to book anything right after an event.
To Eat or Not To Eat
Before a networking event, have a snack to avoid going to a networking event on an empty stomach. It is difficult to juggle a food plate, a glass, shake hands and have a conversation if you are focused on eating. Yes, have an occasional beverage and yes have some or no food. When hosting a business event, remember do not drink any alcohol. Your non-drinking guests will appreciate it.
Do not stick with your friends, co-workers or close associates. Networking is a time to meet new people. Do sit at a table by yourself and meet new people. You can compare notes afterwards with your peers on the new connections you made.
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. Always have your business cards with you. Keep spare cards in your vehicle, wallet/purse and never leave home without them!
Going 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. Be present in the moment and listen to the people you are connecting with. Mingling and making new connections is the fun part of networking!
You Know The 3 Keys
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. This will set you apart from the rest. Be genuine in your follow-ups, reference something specific to the event and their conversation with you.
Do not monopolize the conversation and do not spend the entire networking event engaged with one person. Invite someone new to join your conversation. If you know them, make the introductions. It is Okay 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.
What are your Do's and Don'ts for Successful Networking?