Monday, July 26, 2010

Networking Tips

In anticipation of the Young Catholic Professionals kickoff event to be held next Monday night, August 2nd at Trinity Hall Irish Pub in Dallas I thought I would post some networking tips. But before we get to the tips let’s look at the definition of networking. According to Merriam-Webster networking is, “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”

Seven Tips for Networking

1. First research the event you are going to, find out what the host organization is all about, who is on their board and who are the likely guests to be in attendance... Knowing the purpose of the event, board members names, and who might be in attendance beforehand will help you sound more knowledgeable when speaking to others at the event and perhaps make you feel more comfortable when networking.

2. Look your best, dress up but dress conservatively for the most part one or two eye catching accessories are fine i.e. for men a bright tie or shirt, for women a bright necklace, scarf, handbag, or shoes. Be sure to check the invitation details to see if there is a dress code for the event. And as an old family friend use to say you are never fully dressed without a smile. J She may have gotten this expression from Harry Connick, Jr.’s “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile.”

3. Bring your business cards, have lots of crisp, clean cards on hand and keep them in an easily accessible location, i.e. jacket pocket, pant/ skirt pocket or outside purse pocket. And be sure to ask for cards, don’t just hand out yours, collect others. If time allows and you can discretely do so jot down notes on the back of the card about the individual you just met.

4. Place your name tag on the right side of your chest so that when you shake hands with others your name tag is in their line of sight. (lots of people get this one wrong)

5. Keep your right hand free… Keep your right hand free of drinks, papers, pens, cards, etc. so that you are ready to shake someone’s hand.

6. Greet everyone because you never know who they might be and what conversation may spark. After greeting people follow-up with open ended questions (people generally love to talk about themselves) and have your two minute introduction ready as well. Once you’ve gotten to know someone for a few minutes, say goodbye/ great meeting you/ hope to see you at the next event and then move on to someone new, your goal should be to circulate around the room don’t monopolize anyone’s time.

7. Follow-up Quickly touch base with those you met after the event, email them, add them to your LinkedIn and invite them out for coffee or lunch.

Food for thought: The best time to build your network might be when you don’t really need something from someone, when you are simply trying to meet, get to know and build relationships with others. If you do this by the time you do need something from someone in regards to employment or business you’ll be in a better position to ask them since you’ve already established a relationship with them.

1 comment:

  1. Nelly - I love these tips! So practical and simple. Thank you.