Networking

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I was going to write an article about the relative values of push technology impact-fulness and social media modality vs. the interdependence of the net’s attributes in relative terms to the usability of phase-based non-Net exigencies.

But I didn’t know what the hell that meant.

I was involved in a few associations and as part of that work, I go to a lot of conferences and events. Some in this space – some in other areas. All are related to marketing of some sort.

And as a Geezer, I have been around a while. One thing I see that concerns me, and has been corroborated by many, many folks when I ask, is “Why don’t younger folks know how to network?”

Now, I don’t have the answer. I can prolly give you some armchair psychology of some sort. But I won’t.

I will, however, give you young ‘uns a few tips. So, gather round the fire, grab your hot chocolates and listen to a story.

It was told to me…

“How can you tell an extroverted Geek? They stare at your shoes.”

Ok, ’nuff jokes. This is serious stuff.

All of us have to get out there. Perhaps some of us are serious sales-types and can  “glad hand” our way through thick and thin.

Some of us are not.

So here my Top 10 Networking Tips for nonsales-types!

10. Stand up. Don’t just sit at a table at an event. (No one will ask ya ta dance that way!)

9. Bring a colleague. Especially if you are really, really, really nervous – there is strength in numbers.

8. Don’t drink. Full stop. You are probably nervous enough already. Stay away from the “giggly juice.” Or worse the “Career Limiting Utterance” juice!

7. Wear a name badge if they supply it. And make sure it is turned to face OUT! Nothing worse than to find people staring at your chest for seemingly hours trying to find out who you are?

6. Smile. People will always approach a happy person over a grumpy one. And did ya know smiling relieves stress?

5. Have your elevator pitch rehearsed and ready! Someone will inevitably ask … “Hi, what do you do?” … Ums and ahhhs are bad first impressions. Have your “I am the … etc etc” prepped! Memorized and ready!

4. Keep your comments positive. And, keep your initial comments innocuous! PLUS, for the first little while – like say your first 20 or so years in business – keep your opinions to yourself. No one wants to hear about how horrible the conference was or how bad the speaker was – especially if the person you are speaking with is the Speaker’s wife or the husband of the gal you are going to interview with next week. Why get branded as a spoilsport, black cloud. or worse!

3. Have business cards on you all the time. Even if you work at someplace that does not give you business cards (the rotters!) Make up some personal ones. Networking is all about career improvement. A Gmail account and a cell phone number are all folks need. And there are all sorts of great biz card apps now. Use them!

2. Introduce yourself. At a networking event, if you don’t know a single soul – walk up to someone, use your “Spidey Senses*” and say, “Hi I don’t seem to know a single soul here. My name is (Insert your own name) and take it from there.  I believe you must have had contact with someone – ergo why you are there, or if not,  go to one of the organizers and say “Hi! I don’t seem to know a single soul here – could you introduce me?”

And the #1 Tip for Networking: RELAX.  If you are an up and coming young sales wiz, yep, ya gotta get out there and sell, sell, sell. But, at most of the networking events I go to, the guys and gals that have the most luck aren’t the ones seen “humping the legs” of potential clients.  SHEEESH!!! RELAX! Take your time. Be approachable.

As a bonus, here are a couple of tips for the Zig Ziglars (You look him up!) of the future.

As a salesperson – dress like someone your clients would go to for advice. My clients (banks, telcos and mostly C-Suite execs) go to doctors, lawyers and professional consultant types for advice.

(NOTE: Never trust a doctor who doesn’t wear a tie. Just good common sense. If he can’t tie a tie imagine what he might do when he is trying to adjust your thingamajig etc!)

Anyway, je digress.

Also if you are a sales type, remember – you have two ears and one mouth. Try listening twice as much as you speak.

And a great technique, instead of a twenty-minute sermon on how your “End to end
solution for network something a majig or other does blah, blah, blah!” ask some lovely, elegant, thought-provoking questions! Like. “Hi, who are you?”  “Hi, what do you do?” “Wow, that sounds amazing – tell me more about that!”

And then shut up and let the pigeon – I mean, potential client – speak!

You get the idea. People DO love to talk about themselves. Ask them questions. Yes, I know closing is important – but this is a networking event. A great close could be – “Bob, would it be ok if I call you – I would really like to make an appointment to get together to show you how our (Insert your service/product here) could really be of value to you and your company.”

That is a nice thing. Again, enough with the leg humping.

Net/net, the networking aspect of our careers is something you have to practice. It is good for you. It is good for your company and it is good for the industry you serve.

Yes, it can be scary. But I am confident you will see the benefits if ya give it a try.

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