Mile Marker #44 on your Roadmap to Success
Before your next Networking Event, take the time to prepare for it.
- Know what the event is.
- Focus on benefits.
- Plan your self-introduction.
- Check your business cards.
- Prepare your small talk.
- Remember to make eye contact and smile.
- Practice your handshake.
- Know what the event is: You will want to know what the event is, who is sponsoring it, who will attend, what you have in common, and why it is being held. What are some of the networking events you currently attend? What is the purpose of these events?
- Focus on the benefits of the event: You might want to write down what your purpose is before you go. This purpose might include any or all of the following: be visible among your peers, show support of your boss’s favorite community project, be a role model for your employees, or just to meet new people. What is your purpose in going to networking events?
- Plan your self-introduction: This should include your name and a tag line that tells other people who you are and gives them a way to remember you. The best self-introduction will give the listener an opportunity to relate, ask a question, or share an observation. You may have different ones for different events. Answer the question: What do you do?
- Check your business cards: It can be very embarrassing to go and then realize you forgot your business cards. Make sure you have an adequate supply and an easy way to get to them. Check to see if they are clean, in good shape, and have nothing written on the back. After all, this is a networking event. How do your business cards serve you? What do you do with the business cards you get at these events?
- Prepare your small talk: This is not easy for most folks. However, it is essential when out networking. You will have more confidence if you have at least three pieces of small talk prepared-light conversations that you can have with anyone you meet. (For example, can you discuss motherboards, mother ships or motherhood? Then you are ready for small talk.) What are some standard questions you ask when talking with someone you don’t know?
- Remember to make eye contact and smile: Eye contact and being in the moment are critical in building rapport. A roving eye gives the impression of an insincere, hand-pumping Sleaze– only there to get! Be sincerely interested! How do you stay focused on the person in the front of you?
- Practice your handshake: A firm clasp is the handshake of preference for greeting people, agreeing to a deal and departing as friends. Make sure your handshake is neither weak nor forceful. Practice this! It is important. Actually practice with your sales team now.