Did you read my last blog about networking and some simple thoughts on how to make it work for you?
Since then I have come across several “Networking Virgins” who (bless them) look so nervous when they walk in to our groups and don’t seem to have a clue about how to be, what to say, where to stand. My advice to you all is just “be yourself”. That is what it is all about. We want to get to know you. We want to chat to you. We are not there to judge. We can support you and help you – so ask for help! Mention it’s your first time and that you’re not sure how it works. Hopefully someone might buddy up with you and show you the ropes.
Remember as a networker – wait to be asked what you do rather than launching into a monologue. It is much better etiquette and if there is a lapse in conversation you could ask the others what they do.
When you are listening to people –
1. Look at them but don’t stare (it freaks people out)
2. Don’t turn your body away (it looks like you are trying to get away) or just not interested in them. And of course, if you are not interested in them then they surely will not be interested in you or what you have to offer
3. Nod your head occasionally to show you are listening to what they are saying and can hear it and that you understand
4. When they have finished ask relevant questions.
Follow-ups after meetings are great – but generally I prefer the individual emails rather than bulk emails to everyone in the room even if you are lucky enough to have all their cards. I prefer the “it was so nice to meet you today it was interesting to hear what you had to say about….”
In the end we are all there to meet each other, have a nice cup of coffee/tea, meet and connect with people. You will often find it quite hard to finish conversations – that is what follow-ups are about. You meet people and realise and hope that there might be a connection – you then follow up with another meeting – time and place your choice!
Finally – and most importantly – have fun!