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Squirming at the thought of networking? Here are some suggestions for you to become a master (Part 1 of 2)

by / Tuesday, 05 May 2015 / Published in Advertising, Business Development, Marketing, Networking

Networking Tips 1

If you want to know why you must network to grow your business and your own social skills, read my prior blog titled “You must attend networking and social events, even if you don’t want to. Why?” After that, come back here to get some pointers for yourself, then proceed to the next blog “Another set of tips to make networking less painful. What you can do to be an expert in social interaction.” for tips on being great for others. Both pages of advice should help tremendously. Here, I offer some tips to potentially help you with matters you may not have even though of, but should have. Your appearance, behavior and the event itself matters much more than you may have considered. Take a read!

 

      Your Appearance

  1. Dress appropriately! Pretend that all events have a formal dress code and always keep it in mind. Choose clean and industry appropriate attire, not a tee-shirt and jean shorts, unless it’s to a luau or hosted on a beach. No one wants to be seen with, refer, or do business with, a slacker or slob. No Spicoli’s.
  2. Accessorize! Pick a stand-out tie, watch, shoes, accessory, or any small item that is memorable and bold. This will oftentimes be a conversation piece, can make you stand out from the crowd, and will make you appear trendy (forward-thinking and current) and powerful (not afraid to take risks). Just don’t overdo it.
  3. Wear great shoes! This is often overlooked because so many of us don’t realize how many people look at shoes and make judgments from footwear. Sneakers are not acceptable unless you are going to a sporting event and dirty flip-flops with holes in them should be in the trash, not on your feet.
  4. Smell great, but don’t bathe in cologne or perfume! No one wants to talk to a person who reeks of too much scent, no matter how great you think your new fragrance is. Alternatively, don’t come to an event straight from a two-hour gym workout without freshening up first. Be nice to noses.

Your Behavior

  1. Smile! You aren’t going to the guillotine. Who wants to hang-out with a miserable wet-rag? If you just euthanized your pet, or you are having a bad day, don’t let it show at the event. Remember that you are a gift, with a gift to offer. So is everyone else in the room. Even making it to the event is a gift. Be happy and that alone will attract others to you. Grin and bear it.
  2. Shake hands! Even if you are a germaphobe, make an exception at events. It’s important to give a firm handshake to new acquaintances. Not shaking someone’s hand can be misconstrued as offensive. You don’t want to seem impolite.
  3. Make eye contact! It’s natural to be aware of your surroundings, but very inappropriate and rude to stare at a good-looking guy or girl across the room, or constantly eye roam, during a conversation with an individual or group. If you aren’t interested in what he or she has to say, why should they be interested in you? Keep your eyes on the prize.
  4. Police your actions! Keep your drinking and eating within normal limits. No one relates to a drunk, or someone shoveling too much food in his or her mouth for consecutive hours. If you’re in need of getting sloshed or engorged with food, save it for your own home. This is not the time or place.
  5. Remember your business cards and a pen! You can’t appear responsible and organized if someone asks you for a business card and you don’t have one. Equally important, bring a pen to inconspicuously jot down notes on the back of received business cards regarding people you meet. It’s very hard to keep track of everyone and their particulars. New friends will love that you “remembered” the name of their dog.
  6. Speak clearly and professionally! Networking events are not the appropriate place to showcase your street-cred, improper grammar or ability to whisper, unless it’s called for specifically. Frankly, there is rarely a time or place to not speak appropriately, within an acceptable decibel level, since you never know who is listening. Barring a disability, keep it clean, clear and appropriate.

The Event, Entrance and Exit

  1. Attend targeted events! Your time is limited, so choose wisely and choose events hosting people who are more likely to be or have connections to potential clients or customers within your target market.
  2. Timing is key! Don’t arrive too early. The first few minutes of events, and prior, are often awkward. Do you really want to be a part of the first uncomfortable stand-around session? You also don’t want to seem too eager. Finally, the influx of attendees arriving within the first 15 minutes will distract anyone you are having a connection with. Show your wonderful face between 15 and 30 minutes after start-time.
  3. Again, timing is key! Don’t arrive way too late. Appearing right before the night is over will make you seem like you didn’t care to be on time and, more importantly, irresponsible. Also, you may lose the opportunity of meeting people who already left. Be fashionably late, not too late.
  4. Say good-bye to everyone you met! We all forget people easily, so it’s always a good idea to return to your new acquaintances prior to your exit and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Don’t forget to tell him or her that you enjoyed the conversation. You’ll more likely be remembered in the future.
  5. Thank the host! The event didn’t magically appear. Remember the person who took the time and energy to put together the event you attended. The organizer should be recognized and appreciated. Thank you and goodnight!

Hopefully these tips will help you excel at networking. If you want more advice, continue on to the next blog “Another set of tips to make networking less painful. What you can do to be an expert in social interaction.” to learn what else you can do to become a networking star!

Good luck!

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