Hey, we’re back. Screen meets are still cool but getting out there, meeting your associates face to face has never been more important. However, after over two years of lying low it’s easy to understand how networking has become, for some, a bit of a forgotten skill, even for the seasoned pros.
So, whether you’re happy chatting with ease or internally curled into an anxiety ball with just the mention of the word network, my checklist of dos and don’ts provide a quick dive in on how to make your networking experience something to love!
Let’s start with the don’ts
(get them out of the way)
- Don’t sell or drone on … but if people ask and probe questions go for it
- With that, do not overstay a conversation – read the faces and remember they’ll have other people they want to speak to, so will you.
- Don’t be negative about the speakers, the venue, the temperature. Nobody likes a moaner.
- Don’t be clique around your mates, invite people into the conversation. We’ve all been that person jostling awkwardly with a wine glass or coffee waiting for the right moment to join in a conversation.
- Equally, if you’re the one just outside a conversation, it’s perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself to the group too. Remember it’s business not the playground and all professional.
(so many more, yey!)
- Commit to go. Our diaries are busy and to do’s just build. So, it’s easy to plan to attend but pull back near to the date due to work pressures. Instead commit, give yourself time, and see it as a ‘must do’ event. Don’t let diary hijackers in.
- Before you attend update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you have a good photo; your bio and banner is up to date and well designed. People will be checking you while you check them!
- Show up. I don’t mean actually being there but make sure you go with a positive attitude to represent you and your company’s brand.
- Look the part. It might sound obvious but think about what you’re going to wear. Make sure it represents your brand values.
- Smell nice. Controversial? Here’s my thinking. Agreed, I would hope we’d all shower beforehand but having attended a zillion events, you always remember the person with lovely aftershave or perfume. If you’re going to an evening event, change from your day wear. Think of it as going to a wedding or a posh meal, or anything for that matter that means a lot to you. Wearing a jacket that was left out in the rain or a jumper left in the boot of your car for weeks, will be noticed.
- Go with an open mind, with the objective of learning something new and meeting interesting people.
- Follow up. On LinkedIn, email. The same or next day. If you’ve recommended someone or say you’ll send some information, this is your next day action.
- Ask questions and listen. Offer insight & intel when appropriate.
- Get involved. If there is a panel or speaker slot, you’re bound to have a question. There will be others in the room thinking the same, so ask away. They’ll thank you!
- Do chat to people you don’t know but don’t forget the ones you know as well. This is a great chance to build on those relationships. So, introduce new to old and include.
- Keep it personal but don’t overshare. The world has shifted now, and people can be considerably more personal in the business space, but some people still see business as business. So be personal, open and sharing, but gauge the other person and see how comfy they feel about sharing. A good example would be using an example of working from home to see if they would like to talk about their family.
- Finally, be natural. Over the years people have said to me that they hate networking as they think they have to be someone else, or sell or talk all about their business, which makes them feel uncomfortable. If you remember no one likes or wants this and would much rather you were just you.
Still feel a bit unsure? Glow can help with one2one mentoring and coaching for networking and media & LinkedIn training. Contact email@example.com