In today’s business world, they say it’s all about who you know. Networking events are the best way to cover the most ground in terms of meeting other professionals, but what exactly are the rules for networking?
1. Do interact with people you haven’t met before. Catching up with existing connections is always a good icebreaker and can calm your nerves at unfamiliar events. However, the whole reason of networking is to make new connections.
2. Do seek to find common interests. Business included or aside, people are drawn to others who they think are like them. Whether it’s a hometown sports team or a watch, tie or other accessory, be attentive in looking for similarities you might have with others.
3. Do introduce others. If you know two people who don’t know each other, introduce them. Having you as a common connection will make your name that much more relevant in other business interactions.
4. Do exchange business cards. And make it memorable. The more meaningful the interaction is during this exchange, the more likely they will remember you when they stumble across your business card in the stack they’ve collected.
5. Do connect with people afterwards. It is completely acceptable to add people via LinkedIn after meeting them at an event. Try to make requests personal so they have an easy time remembering who you are, but keep it professional.
6. Don’t count people out. It may seem that some people you meet just don’t fit in with you or your business, but sometimes it can be about who they know, too. Be respectful to everyone you meet even if you aren’t sure how you connect with them.
7. Don’t make a full business pitch. Casually introduce yourself and what your company is about, but don’t make people feel like they are watching a rehearsed TV advertisement. If someone seems interested in your business, be sure to exchange information and set up a meet for another time.
8. Don’t only talk about yourself. Keep the conversation going by engaging whomever you’re speaking with. Any person listening to you only talk about you, will probably feel bored or uninterested and likely won’t even retain anything you’re telling them.
9. Don’t make it too personal. Sharing minor personal details to connect with people is a great starter, but getting into the details of your love life, health issues, or political views is never OK. This rule should generally apply to all professional environments; your personal problems should never be a part of your business practice.
10. Don’t trash talk, ever. Whether you feel like complaining about your spouse, your colleague or a random person you saw on the street this morning, just don’t. Not only does it give you a bad attitude, but it’s also never worth the risk of who knows who; it’s a small world, after all.
What else would you recommend to keep in mind at networking events?
Three Point Marketing offers marketing support for professional service providers such as financial planners, attorneys, and accountants.