Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mind Your Networking Manners

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you attend networking events! Good manners engenders goodwill and trust from others, and makes it more likely that others will want to work with you.

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Don’t talk with your mouth full! 😉

Don’t chow down at the food station. Never talk with your mouth full. No one likes to talk with someone who is more interested in chomping away at the hor dourves. Did you come to eat or network. I usually eat before I arrive so I can spend more time networking.

Never stand on the sidelines. Get into the game.

Wear your name tag on your upper right shoulder, which is the natural place for people to look when they shake your hand. Never wear it hanging from your neck or upside down or with someone else’s name.

Never give your business cards out randomly. Be selective. Only give your card to someone with whom you have an interest in following up with.

It is not politically correct to arrive late. Always be on time. Show up early and stay late.

Don’t butt in when others are talking. Interrupting tells them you were not really listening or not interested. And don’t be a time hog. In other words, pay attention to what they are saying (you might learn something) and don’t be so quick to talk only about YOU. If you want others to pay attention to you, pay attention to them. Be patient. Conversation is a two-way street. Try not to be so set on your talking points that you miss what the other person has to offer. Listen more than you speak.

Dress to impress. Your image is what people see first. Present the “best” image of yourself. Business casual is the uniform of the day – depending on the event! Sloppy dressers won’t get referrals from me. Cut-offs and sandals are out.

Demonstrate your own self-confidence. Maintain a positive attitude about yourself and your accomplishments. Talking about yourself positively is not the same as bragging. Confidence attracts people.

Never text, Tweet, send e-mail or make phone calls during events or networking meetings. Be respectful of others. Turn your cell phone off or at least set it to vibrate. Place all your focus on the reason you chose to attend in the first place. If you must take a priority call, be sure to excuse yourself before you answer and step away from the area or – better yet – go outside where you won’t disturb others.

thinkbeforeSpeakingIntroduce yourself but be careful not to bore people with a 30-second connection when informally meeting someone. Your so-called “elevator speech” or 30-second connection is usually intended for smaller group meetings where everyone is given an opportunity to introduce themselves. Develop a one-liner that tells them your name and clearly tells what you do and do it before you ever get to the event.

When you stumble on someone who you think you might like to follow-up with or include into your own personal network, show an interest in them. When receiving a business card, take the time to look it over and make a comment about it. Make notes on the back of their business card so you can remember something about them when you follow up. Allow them to see you do this. It demonstrates that they have aroused an interest in them.

Always remember, networking is all about building relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Building trust is generally not built in a single meeting. The trust part will develop when you are authentic in your relationships.

Keep your word! It you say you will follow-up, do it. If you say you will call, call.

The person standing right in front of you should always take priority. While at a networking event, never be caught looking over the shoulder of the person you are talking to for someone better to talk with. If they are a bore, give them the courtesy of a polite exit and then move on (e.g., “I need to refresh my drink, perhaps we will run into each other again later.”) Always exit conversations politely.

On the other hand, if they start to fidget, look around the room or use noncommittal words like “okay,” “interesting,” and “hmmm,” they are probably finished talking to you. Bring the conversation to a quick conclusion and move on. Another exit strategy is to excuse yourself shortly after someone else joins the conversation. I once saw a friend and decided to stop and say hello. He quickly introduced me to the person he was talking to and left. After spending a few minutes with the one he introduced me to, I realized why he left. It wasn’t long before I moved on. 😉

Be friendly, share a smile and make good eye contact. Intense eye contact can make you appear confrontational or confused. Too little contact can make you appear rude and disinterested. Be memorable, not just another face in the crowd. I often will say, “My name is Larry James, the guy with two first names” to help them remember me.

“When you call, leave a message. They know you called. Almost everyone has some sort of caller ID which will show that you did call. If you don’t leave a message, they won’t know if it’s an emergency or not. I mean they’ll probably know it’s not an emergency, but just do them a favor and tell them so.

Second. Leave your number. Twice. Leave it once at the beginning of the message and then once more at the end. At the very least, leave it at the beginning. That way, when they try to write it down, they don’t have to wait through the entire message a second time to make sure that they got it right.” ~ Greg Peters, The Reluctant Networker

Nobody likes a phoney! You can spot them across the room. Keep it real. There is nothing worse that being a fake for the sake of gaining contacts. Be yourself.

If you are holding a cold drink, hold it in your left hand. Icy fingers don’t work well when you shake hands.

Be a giver. . . not a taker. Never make a sales pitch at a networking event. Offer assistance to those you meet. If you know someone that they should know and you feel comfortable enough with them to namedrop. . . do it! An easy way to touch base with someone in your network is to clip out an article that you think might interest them and mail it to them – not e-mail – use a stamp!

When you receive a lead from someone, send them a hand-written thank-you note – not e-mail – use a stamp! Include your business card.

I often will ask someone I meet for networking advice. It does two things: I find out how much they know about networking and I might learn something. It’s also a good conversation starter. Ask: “Been networking long?” “What works best for you?” “What is the best technique you’ve discovered while networking?”

Make it a goal to do something for the people you meet. Doing something for someone without expecting anything in return is a very quick way to allow people to warm up to you.

Don’t substitute technology for face-to-face conversation. Small talk breaks the ice and puts others at ease. An occasional e-mail is okay, however, be sure to send e-mail without abbreviations and grammatical errors. It’s tacky and unprofessional. Spell-check email and re-read email before pushing the “send” button. Phone calls are better, and face-to-face meetings are best.

I know, it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. Always remember to say please and thank you.

There are many other dos and don’ts for networking. You are encouraged to comment on some of the ones you have found to be effective.

BONUS Articles: When You Shake Hands. . . Really Shake Hands!
Breaking the Ice at Networking Events
Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now

netHQCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Breaking the Ice at Networking Events

Sarah Michel, CSP, Guest Author

Recently a brilliant friend and colleague described to me how she felt attending a professional meeting where she didn’t know anyone sitting around her as being, “awkward and painful,” when she found herself at a loss for how to break the ice with someone she doesn’t know. Here was someone who has so much to offer anyone lucky enough to engage in conversation with her but her reluctance to initiate interaction caused her to avoid eye contact and retreat inward and miss out on the potential network relationships sitting around her. These are the people that keep me up at nights.

I have had a life-long fascination with people who have a natural preference for introversion and think that they’re really bad at breaking the ice and talking to people they don’t know. These people (you know who you are) also think their bad at networking which couldn’t be farther from the truth. In my experience, they may not work the room and come away with the most business cards but the few people they do meet they will make a meaningful connection with that actually has a high chance of continuing on after the first meeting. That is how you build a great network, one relationship at a time.

In today’s constantly changing, crazy busy world, your success will be determined by the breadth of people you know and how quickly you can get the information or resource you need to do your job faster, better or easier. The more people you meet who live in worlds you don’t even know about yet, the stronger your network will be.

No matter if you’re breaking the ice online or in person, how you phrase your first opening question to capture the attention of the receiver is critical because you have less than 15 seconds to do it. People are moving at warp speed and you simply won’t break through the million thoughts running through their mind or get them to stop and pay attention to you if you’re not compelling.

Perfecting Connecting book cover

Click book cover to order!

Here are ten proven ice breakers to help you break in and make out with anyone, anywhere, anytime:

• “This is my first time at a meeting like this, how about you?”
• “Tell me about yourself and how you spend most of your time?
• “What has been the best part of your week so far?”
• “What do you like doing when you’re not at work?”
• “What do you love about your profession?”
• “What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on in the past year?
• “What keeps you up at night, what’s your biggest challenge?”
• “What’s your number one customer’s biggest concern right now?”
• “Who do you most admire in your company and why?”
• “What do you wish your coworkers really knew about you?”

I hope these ice breakers will give you the confidence to start conversations that will lead to amazing connections and opportunities for you if you’re willing to give it a try.

The world is waiting to meet you!

SarahMichel

Sarah Michel, CSP

Copyright © 2011 – Sarah Michel, CSP. Reprinted with permission. Sarah Michel, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) works with organizations to teach people how to make their net WORK! She is a professional speaker, author and trainer on the fine art of connecting. More info on Sarah can be found at her Website. Send e-mail to: sarah@perfectingconnecting.com or 719-576-2045.

netHQLarry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

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