Knowing how to effectively network is paramount to keeping powerful bridges in tact that allow for easy career placement, advancement or transition and a solid database of great people to contact for future networking, sales, advise or referrals. Networking events are so much more than showing up and handing out business cards. Some of the most complicated business negotiations, company acquisitions and mergers discussions and million-dollar contracts begin with the foundation of people networking. Here are a few tips to get started on becoming a ‘social butterfly’ rather than a social fly.
Network Effectively: BUTTERFLY
- Make a strong and favorable first impression- good eye contact and a strong handshake
- Be conscious of body language- yours and thiers
- Bring a sufficient amount of business cards
- Listen ACTIVELY and take a genuine interest in what people are saying
- Remember 3 facts about each person you meet- one of course being the person’s name
- Determine your message before you arrive- what are you there to promote?
- Find creative ways to give value or promote other individuals and they will reciprocate
- Exchange contact info- a networking event is unsuccessful if you return home without any contacts
- TIP: A key way to engage people is to use F.O.R.M. Family Occupation Recreation and Money- topics people love to talk about
Network Ineffectively: FLY
- Never interrupt a conversation and force your way in
- Have poor posture or lack of confidence
- Get buzzed or ‘over-served’ at the networking event
- Forget business cards or hand them out like party fliers
- Forget to follow up with contacts you meet
- Forget to follow through on promises, agreements or deals you made at event
- Position yourself as superior to colleagues or acquaintances
Dress to Impress: To be taken seriously and approached with respect.
- Ladies: stay away from low-cut blouses, mini-skirts, tank tops or tight fitting clothes
- Men: stay away from scruffy, unpolished shoes, an ill-fitting suit, wrinkled shirt and dirty nails
Most professional understand the power of networking and building relationships and the meaning of a solid Rolodex, virtual or otherwise. These are simple tips for those who want to make networking a focus in their career. Keep in mind a great quote by the legend Zig Ziglar: ‘you don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great!
Share with us your tips for effective networking and how you went from good to great or simply got started.