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:
- Do some homework before the event.
- 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.
- 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.
- Feel comfortable introducing yourself and smile and make eye contact when you do.
- Have an elevator speech in your mind to use when someone asks what you do.
- More importantly have elevator questions in your mind to ask people you meet to get them talking.
- Search for something in common.
- 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.
- Do not have food in one hand and a drink in the other.
- Have a few graceful exits planned.
- 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.