A Fool-proof Way to Enjoy Networking

Do you find networking events daunting? Do you get overwhelmed by the mere thought of what to attend and what to do once you get there? Once you know about The Gears and Listening, you can have a lot more fun at any event you attend.
 
Pre-Event
 
Get in 1st Gear and ask yourself three questions:
 

  • Why is this the right event for me? (If your answer is anything other than “because it’s where the folks in my target market hang out”, don’t go!)
  • What can I help the people I meet with? (Your job is to be prepared to be of service – you need to know what that service is before you get there, so those you speak with will have the most positive experience of being with you.)
  • How will I know when I’m done? (You can’t meet everyone at any event — decide how many people is enough for you before you go. If you will be truly present for 3-5 people, you will get more out of any networking event than most people and you will definitely be memorable!)

 
Prepare For The Day Of  The Event
 
Get in 1st Gear:
 

  • Do I have business cards? (You only need enough for the people who ask you for one!)
  • What is my best outfit to wear so I’ll feel comfortable in my clothes? (When you know you look good, you’ll be much better able to listen in 2nd Gear  because you’ve got all the 1st Gear details handled.)
  • What’s the best time for me to get there to be at my best? (There’s  a different  energy at each part of the event: the beginning, middle and end. Get there at the the time that works best for you and you will be the most comfortable – and the most resourceful.)

 
The Day Of The Event
 
Get in 1st Gear:
 

  • What time do I need to leave my office to get there at my optimal time? (Plan to leave 10 minutes  earlier, so you can catch your breath,  no matter what happens.)
  • Who would I like to meet? (Have an idea and be prepared to meet the people who are there when you are. Networking is an ongoing relationship ~ you never know who you’ll meet and who they know.)
  • What will I eat before I get there so I can be effective before I get some food?(Your brain doesn’t work when you’re hungry! Sharing food as you’re talking is one thing; if you’re starving you’ll only be thinking about yourself–your presence will be less powerful than you think.)

 

Once you get in the door,  take a moment to take a breath to get centered, and look around before you:
 

Get in 2nd Gear:
 

  • Who looks like they’re having no fun? (Walk over and introduce yourself. Ask them about their business and listen in 2nd Gear ~ you’ll be their hero.)
  • Who can I introduce this person to? (Just be open to the possibility and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Once you connect them with someone else, you can look for the next person to talk with.)
  • What will give others the best experience of me? (Asking more telling, listening more than speaking, and offering your card only when it’s requested. Take every card you’re offered with a smile.)

 
Get in 3rd Gear:
 

  • What’s happening around me? (Since you’re here because your target is here, pay attention.)
  • What’s the mood of the room? (You want to match your mood to that of the room – it makes for a better fit.)
  • Where’s the action happening?( This way you can choose where you want to be – at the center of the action or at the periphery. Great connections happen in both places.)

 
Post-Event
 
Get in 3rd Gear:

  • Write a note to everyone whose card you got. (Match your experience with the person, whether it’s an email, a connection invite to LinkedIn, or a hand-written note.)
  • Follow-up the next day with those who’ve agreed to have more conversation with you. (Networking helps you to move the relationship forward – just like any relationship, you both have to want it to move forward. )
  • If you want more interaction with someone who didn’t agree to have it with you, make a note of them and look for other opportunities to network where they are. (You never know they might just need more a a reason to connect with you or a better time. Stay logical about it and plan your next step.)

 
The Gears will help you in a variety of ways; networking is just one example. I hope you will put them to use for yourself this week!
 
Tomorrow: You Bring About What You Think About

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