Live networking etiquette

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Expand your professional network

Writing about networking again. It’s the last time, at least for this week! As I said yesterday, it’s great to expand our professional network with social medias but you can’t hide behind your computer forever. At some point, I suggest regularly, you have to get out there and shake a few hands. Here are a few tips when it comes to choosing the events you’ll attend and on how to behave yourself during the event.

 

Choose!

First very important tip: learn from my mistakes. I attended a few events that turned out to be a waste of time and money. Know the reasons why you want to network: learning about a specific subject, selling your products, prospecting potential clients, hearing about job opportunities, and so on. Choose accordingly. You also want to be careful about the attending crowd. Clicky events are a waste of time. No mingling, no networking.

 

Listen!

Listen a lot more than you talk. Asking a question is a great icebreaker. «So! What is it that you do?» is my secret weapon! But you actually have to listen carefully to what the person is saying. Especially if you’re looking for business opportunities, it’s a gold mine! We’re social creatures, we thrive when others take interest in what we’re saying. Make your interlocutor feel interesting and important, he’ll remember you!

 

Engage!

Let your inner social butterfly shine! That nice comfy couch in the corner is your worst enemy. You’re not allowed to sit during a networking event, period. Engage in eye contact, smile and walk around the room. No standing in the corner. Jump on occasions. If a person smiles back at you when you create eye contact, it’s your cue to present yourself and go straight to my secret weapon question!

 

 

Respect!

I saved the most important one for last. Aretha was asking for R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It’s not just a song. Never ignore someone who’s talking to you, it’s rude. There is always a nice way to let your interlocutor know that it is time for you to met another person.

«It was nice meeting you, may I have your business card.»

«I would like to shake as many hands as possible tonight, good luck with your project.»

Also, be careful with your business card manners. As I heard someone say, don’t be a business card vending machine! Some suggest to wait before your interlocutor ask for it, I think you can suggest. «May I give you my business card?» is better than «Here is my business card».

Last but not least, be careful with the alcohol intake. Hitting the bar once may be good for the nerves, but more than that is a recipe for disaster. You want to be remembered for your clever humour and your impeccable sales pitch, not as the lady who got hammered, don’t you? Voilà.

 

So! When is your next networking event? Meet me in Ottawa in August and in Montreal in September!

 

 

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Marie-Josee Porlier

Sales Director at Kohezion
Marie-Josée Porlier is the Sales Director and main blogger @ Kohezion. Ask her your questions about the cloud computing industry, online database software, database applications, legacy systems, business solutions and business productivity. She can be reached at mjporlier(at)kohezion(dot)com.

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