Recently I attended a local networking event and I was amazed at some of the things I heard and observed. I cannot believe the number of people there that know nothing about how to network! It is about time they learned.
The first thing to remember when attending a networking event is to dress professionally. Do not wear a nice dress with Flip Flops, no matter how pretty you think they are! Flip Flops are popular but do not wear!
Another thing to remember is to bring your business cards and a note pad and pen. These are real important and I suggest you always keep these items in your car!
At this event there were a lot of lone women just standing around semi-smiling, thinking “what should I do now” and looking like lost kittens. I can stand and smile but that doesn’t get me known or do a thing for me.
I went around the room meeting people and inquiring about what they do, how is business going, do you like what you are doing (yes I ask this as I find it leads to a lot of conversation and offers a chance to share your thoughts and perhaps offer a supportive hug or handshake).
I do find that at some events, it can be rather clicky, but that doesn’t bother me. Squeeze into the group and introduce yourself when there is a break in the conversation. Usually people are happy to meet you and do not realize they are shutting people out. When they shut people out they lose a lot of opportunities. You never know who you are going to meet and how they can help you!
At this time, I look for the lone wolves and pull them in, asking who they are and what they do and then persuade them to introduce themselves around the room/group. When you do this you are helping to build up this person’s confidence in many ways! Why should I bother with them, you may ask? I would answer, “This is networking”! The lone wolf will someday become more comfortable in their shoes and will always remember you helping them! They will happily share your information all over the place because you helped them! Give it a try. Be a mentor! Share your confidence and experience.
What else do you do when networking? A lot of groups offer each attendee the opportunity to introduce themselves and tell everyone a short summary about what you do. Keep your eyes and ears open. Take notes. Know WHO you want to meet and speak to specifically. When it is time for you to stand up, be prepared and know what you are going to say. Practice it before hand in the car or at home as when you are caught without being prepared, I guarantee you are going to forget something!
Listen to all the intros around the room and make notes. Who do you want to meet? Who does what and how can they help you? How can you help someone else? When it is time work the room, meet these people, help the lost lambs, gather business cards and information and be everybody’s friend! You never know when you might need one of these people OR they might need you!
So get out there and get known! Networking is easier than you think. Nice to meet you and thank you for reading my article!
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