Networking Do’s and Don’ts
I always enjoy speaking at networking events. I get there an hour early to set up everything for my presentation and then I stand in the back of the room and watch people enter.
Here’s the opportunity for them to rub shoulders and minds with other professionals and yet the most common thing that is done…a hesitation when entering, a “look see” for anyone they recognize, and then a beeline to that person and a flip of a napkin on the back of their chair to guarantee a “safe seat”. What a poor investment!
The goal for networking is to EXPAND and EXCELLERATE opportunities to be of service to others. By far, being a resource of knowledge to connect others with those that can help is a much better position to hold than the “salesperson” who’s pitching their stuff.
Business has changed dramatically. At one meeting this woman had 4 different business cards holders and had to decide which one to give me. At this same meeting a man came up and confronted me with his brochure in my face and quickly told me about all the features of his business. I was looking for a plug I could pull to stop the recording! So in honor of them…I wrote this poem….
The Unproductive Networker
I’m an unproductive networker
I have cards up the wazoo
No one wants to talk to me
Or ask me what I do
I just can’t understand it
Don’t know what the problem is
I have cards of many colors
For that and that and this
I sell insurance and juices
I have vitamins galore
I set up websites on the side
And I sell candles in my store
I teach yoga in my spare time
And help smokers who want to quit
I groom doggies on the weekends
And I even clean up …sh…..oot
I work hard all day and nite
And I’m dedicated too
I want to have that real success
For me and also you
So won’t someone please help me
And tell me what to do
I’m open to receive advice
I’m listening to you
So let me give you some quick do’s and don’ts to prepare you when networking.
DO – Think about the PURPOSE of the meeting you are attending. Who’s going to be there? How can you be a resource to that audience of people? Have that one card ready to give out and only that card.
DON’T – Take out every card of every business you represent. It only looks like you are scattered and not focused or serious about doing business.
DO – Ask more questions about what the other person is looking for and why they came to this particular meeting.
DON’T – Pitch your product or services. Nobody is going to get their check book out and order and pay tonight. Be patient and realize people do business with people they like and know – so focus more on getting to know that person and the product they represent
DO – Follow up! It amazes me how many people stack their cards and put rubber bands around them and that’s it. Can you remember who you saw when? Did you call them, write or send an email to maintain a relationship with these people?
I believe if you breathe air you bring a gift to lifes’ party. When I walk in a room I can’t wait to unwrap those gifts to find commonalities and THEN do business. Try it – it makes networking exciting and FUN!