December 21, 2010

THREE TIPS TO MASTER NETWORKING EVENTS

3 networking tips
What do you say at networking events when you have mere seconds to speak. You might be addressing one person, a table or the entire room.

This year, I went to many networking events and found these three tips work.
  1. content: say something worthwhile
  2. sizzle: make it memorable
  3. contact: stay in touch
The core of successful networking is helping others without expecting a reward. Let's proceed with that mindset.

Content: Say Something Worthwhile

We all have competitors, including the client's inertia. You probably look, sound and dress like your competitors. You may even sell identical products or have similar services.

There's an easy way to get the clay for your message.

Ask your colleagues, clients, friends and family how they would describe you to others. You may find they don't understand what you do well enough to refer you. Help them. You may find insights too.

Don't expect consensus because people see the way they are. You want a message that's tailored to your clients.

Sizzle: Make It Memorable

Now you're ready to mold your clay.

If your message gets forgotten, it won't get passed on. Practice and ask for suggestions from the people above. A clever phrase may help unless your competitors can also use it. Avoid clich├ęs about "taking business to the next level" or your "personal touch". Also ditch words like "honesty", "integrity" and "trust".

You aren't a parrot. Allow your words to evolve and change to suit the situation.

Stumped? You'll find examples of memorable messages in Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Amazon unaffiliated link).

Contact: Stay In Touch

Now it's time to put your clay creation into a kiln to see if it's built to last.

Maintaining connections is easier than ever, thanks to LinkedIn. If you made a reasonable impression and have a good profile, the people you met will probably agree to connect to you.

After an event. I take the business cards I received
  • write the date, name of the event and any personal notes on the back
  • scan the cards with my still-amazing scanner
  • shred them
  • reach out on LinkedIn
Those who accept your invitation are now part of your network. You maintain contact through a combination of status updates, phone calls, emails and personal meetings. Congratulations, networking master!

This is the final post of 2010.

The best to you and yours during the holidays.
May your 2011 be as nice as heaven!

Links


PS Be sure to bring plenty of business cards when you network.

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