to put your best foot forward.
You want to make a positive impression.
You want others to like you when they meet you.
You want people to desire to do business with you.
is easier if you have an outgoing personality, but what if
Have you ever run out of business cards?
Have you forgotten someone's name?
Have you felt "captive" in a conversation and didn't know
how to disengage yourself?
Then read on...
Steps to Effective Networking©"
won't make business contacts sitting in your office or living
empowered! Adopt an attitude of self-confidence!
my marketing philosophy:
the people, meet the people, meet the people."
number one rule is "Attraction vs. Promotion." No one likes
a hard sell.
your business card case and keep it in an outside easily-accessible
sure you have enough business cards that are in good condition.
a quality pen and writing tablet (leather pocket variety)
for follow up notes or for those who forgot to bring their
business cards and have nothing on which to write.
Wear something distinctive which might be a topic of conversation
such as an interesting tie, scarf or pin. Commenting on
others "signature pieces" of clothing is a good conversation
Show that you are more interested in the other person vs.
doing a "sell job" on you or your company.
Your fingernails must be clean and/or polished. Are your
shoes polished? Do you have spinach in your teeth from lunch?
Check in a mirror.
Binaca breath spray or Altoid mints and use them frequently
for the freshest of breath.
Know how to introduce yourself
- An effective
handshake is web-to-web, finger around the other's hand.
offer a sweaty palm or one with sticky margarita mix on your
- One or
two shakes is appropriate but don't pump up and down repeatedly,
as in a water pump unless you are shaking hands with someone
from Germany. Their handshakes tend to be a bit more firm
make positive eye contact and facial expressions. The eyes
are how we feel connected, how we give positive regard for
others. But remember that in Asian countries, the eyes are
- Be able
to describe what you do in fifteen seconds or less using common
everyday language not cyber babble. Realize that terms you
use in your work may be unfamiliar to others who are not in
your industry, especially those from other countries.
- Use proper
titles such as Dr. and Professor. Adopt a more formal style
until invited to do otherwise.
Know how to properly present your business card
there are cultural variances. Americans give cards quickly
upon meeting. Asians use two hands and always place cards
in a place of respect. (Refer to "Business
exchange should be reciprocal. Don't write on them in front
notes later, e.g. the date you met them & location.
how to juggle/manage glasses, napkins and cards gracefully.
Be an effective listener
- Nod which
communicates "I hear you, I acknowledge you."
or validate what the other person is saying, e.g., "Gee, I
can really appreciate how difficult that must be for you,"
or "It sounds like you have a fascinating job."
Learn how to read body language including your own
what's flirtatious, e.g., tossing hair? Don't give the wrong
eye contact with the person you are speaking to.
gaze about the room when in conversation. It's rude and it
makes the other person feel inconsequential.
between "open" and "closed" triads.
approach two people who are facing shoulder to shoulder. It
is likely they are having a private conversation.
a "one minute" signal to someone who desires to break into
your conversation if you need to finish what you are saying
and then get back to the new person quickly.
direct eye contact. Don't stare at the ground or the ceiling.
a warm smile. Be approachable.
fold your arms or put them in your pockets. It's not inviting.
up your face. Practice in the mirror!
into the conversation. Americans require about three feet
of social distance.
do the "good old Joe" back slap. Don't touch another unless
you know them well.
Know how to gracefully disengage from a conversation
- Be gracious.
- If you
are "working a room" and have many people to meet, after two
to three minutes, disengage from the conversation and move
on to meet another person.
the other person "unconditional positive regard," in other
words, your undivided attention.
just walk away if you see someone more interesting. ALWAYS
make a closing statement before moving on, e.g., "Please excuse
me. I see someone I've been looking for all night." Or, "It
was really a pleasure to meet you. I'll look forward to seeing
you again soon."
how to express closing statements.
what was said, "Oh, it looks like you have a fascinating job
and I wish you good luck on your project.'
- If graceful
disengagement doesn't work and the other person doesn't get
the hint that you need to leave, be more direct: "I see it
is really getting late and I really must go, then back up
physically. As a last result, say a parting statement while
you are shaking hands to say good-bye.
Make sure to follow up as promised
make commitments that you can't keep e.g., finding that phone
number or article unless you know you have time to be helpful.
Broken promises don't make a positive first impression.
- Go through
your business cards once a week, using notes on the backs
of cards for reference to follow up.
a "nice meeting you" note and/or material on your company
if requested but don't SPAM (inundate the other person with
more information than they could ever need or want).
follow-up phone calls and remind people where and when you
- Of course
using good data base software, such as "ACT," is very helpful
to track information regarding people you meet.
these skills are more of an art than a science, practice makes
to learn more about networking?
Professionals, Inc.™ would be pleased to design a Protocol
& Etiquette Training Program for company or organization, that
meets your specific needs. Please contact us at
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