You want 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 you're
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 opener.
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.
- Don't offer
a sweaty palm or one with sticky margarita mix on your hands.
- 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 and exaggerated.
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 often downcast.
- 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
- Realize 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
- Card exchange
should be reciprocal. Don't write on them in front of others.
- Make notes
later, e.g. the date you met them & location.
- Learn how
to juggle/manage glasses, napkins and cards gracefully.
Be an effective listener
- Nod which
communicates "I hear you, I acknowledge you."
- Reflect 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 message.
eye contact with the person you are speaking to.
- Don't gaze
about the room when in conversation. It's rude and it makes the
other person feel inconsequential.
between "open" and "closed" triads.
- Don't approach
two people who are facing shoulder to shoulder. It is likely they
are having a private conversation.
- Give 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.
- Make direct
eye contact. Don't stare at the ground or the ceiling.
- Offer a warm
smile. Be approachable.
- Don't fold
your arms or put them in your pockets. It's not inviting.
- Light up
your face. Practice in the mirror!
- Lean into
the conversation. Americans require about three feet of social
- Don't do
the "good old Joe" back slap. Don't touch another unless you know
Know how to gracefully disengage from a conversation
- Always save
- 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
- Give the
other person "unconditional positive regard," in other words,
your undivided attention.
- Don't 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."
- Learn 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
- Don't 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.
- Send 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).
- Make follow-up
phone calls and remind people where and when you met them.
- Of course
using good data base software, such as "ACT," is very helpful
to track information regarding people you meet.
- While these
skills are more of an art than a science, practice makes perfect.
to learn more about networking?
Inc.™ would be pleased to design a Protocol & Etiquette Training
Program for company or organization, that meets your specific needs.
Please contact us at