Newsletter April 08
Let’s have a look at some practical issues with regard to networking events. Remember that even if an event isn’t labelled as ‘networking’, there’s still the opportunity to network when you are there.
Have a purpose for when you go to events.
It’s not uncommon for people to go to a networking function and not have thought through what benefit they would like to get from it. It may be that you want to make connections with people in a particular field; you may want to start getting yourself known in the marketplace; you may simply be going in order to be inspired by the people who are there. Take time to think before you go along as to what your purpose is, and it will help you build more meaningful connections.
The main ‘tool’ for networking is your business card, yet it seems to be the norm that at any networking event approximately 20% of people turn up without their business card.
So, rule number one: have your cards with you.
In addition make sure you have enough, and please ensure they are up to date without, for example, the old phone number crossed out and the new one handwritten on.
If you provide your own business cards, get good quality ones, they do make a statement about the service you offer.
Have them handy. This is easier for men, as men have pockets. For women, you don’t want to be in a situation where someone asks for your card and you have to rush over to where your bag is and try to fish one out from the bottom! You need to think through how you are going to do this, eg wear a jacket with pockets, carry your cards in your hand in a card holder.
You may also like to take some blank cards, to capture the details of anyone you meet who doesn’t have their card with them.
Take a name tag with you to events as there are times when you won’t be given one. If you wear one it makes it easier for people to remember your name, as if they hear it and see it, it’s more likely it will stick in their mind. It also helps overcome those uncomfy situations where someone has met you before and can’t remember your name.
Copyright Successful Speaking 2008