This week I have been focusing on networking. Here is the final post in my series.

I have never been a great "working the room" guy. I don’t like to go to events where I don’t know anyone.  I am happy to go to an event if I gave a presentation to the group, because people who attended come up to me. If my presentation is after the networking event, I rarely introduce myself to strangers. 

Knowing networking is a weakness, I have done a lot of reading on the subject. There are books and articles devoted to networking. Because I have always felt I am a novice, I have read many of them. 

Like most writers, I normally have my top 10 points. In this case I have 11. In a nutshell, here is what I have gotten out of what I have read:

  1. Do some homework before the event.
  2. Dress for success-I read about a very successful woman real estate developer who wore red suits to events so she would stand out from the blue and gray men’s suits.
  3. If you don’t know anyone it is better to find someone else who is alone than to interject yourself into someone else’s conversation.
  4. Feel comfortable introducing yourself and smile and make eye contact when you do.
  5. Have an elevator speech in your mind to use when someone asks what you do.
  6. More importantly have elevator questions in your mind to ask people you meet to get them talking.
  7. Search for something in common.
  8. As I expressed on Monday, call the person by name, find a way to remember his or her name and end the conversation by using the person’s name again.
  9. Do not have food in one hand and a drink in the other.
  10. Have a few graceful exits planned.
  11. Learn something about each person you meet that gives you the opportunity to follow up after the event. 

When is your next networking event or conference? Think about the ideas I have shared and give it a try. If you want more thoughts on how to follow up after the event drop me a line.