Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Networking-is it really that scary?

Over the years I have been told that if talking was a sport I would be a champion-this has got to be true about most women out there. We love to talk whether its about shoes, clothes, fashion, celebrity, gossip anything at all but for some reason when it comes to talking about our business most of us shy away.

Unlike men, we don't like to brag about business success or the great achievements of our business, yet alone give that 30 second elevator pitch. Men tend to have a very "I am here to fix your problem" approach, where as women tend to just give a brief introduction of their business.

I often go to networking events, and like most women I go in my shell, I take my sweet time to put on my name badge, I pretend to read something interesting, try not to make eye contact until.. that first handshake and the first conversation and then the transformation begins. With the female species, all it takes is that one good conversation to light us up and then we are on a roll !

I have found the following tips to be very useful for me in the past and would like to share them:
  • Have a clear agenda in mind-"I want to meet 5 key people"
  • Look professional and look good.If you feel confident about your appearance, you will look confident. Others will perceive you in a positive manner as well-CAUTION do not over do it.
  • Always have a smile and make eye contact
  • Remember, there are other people in the room who feel shy-you are not alone
  • Make a joke, its a great way of starting a conversation
  • Always have a drink in your hand, it makes you look confident
  • ALWAYS carry a stack of business cards in your pocket or hand
  • I like to keep a pen handy too, to take notes on the back of a prospective clients card (I usually put one star to say possible contact, and two stars to remind me to follow up for sure)
  • Avoid eating the h'orderves-you do not want to be caught with your mouth full or spinach in the teeth
  • Talk about random things-entertainment, news, economy, housing market. Do NOT talk about the weather-it makes the other person think you are bored out of your mind
  • Try to introduce people to each other, it makes them believe you are popular AND they will remember it and try to do the same for you
  • ALWAYS as the other person about them, their business and give them positive feedback and the "wow" response-everyone wants to feel important
  • FOLLOW UP after the event so they remember who you are!
There are many books out there that talk about the key to networking, there is no right or wrong method. The tips above have worked for me and I hope you too can benefit from them. The more you network the better you get at it and the more confident you become. The bottom line is-loosen up and have fun-what do you have to loose?


slmnhq said...

Great post. Perhaps you can mention some networking events in the DC area that are worth attending.

Tahir Jilani said...

Thanks to you I have learn't a new meaning of the word Networking, which I always thought to mean, hooking together a number of computers. Here is something I have come across on the subject:
10 Tips for Successful Business Networking by Stephanie Speisman

Copy paste the following link on your browser: