When you set out to a networking event, do you realize what you are really setting out to accomplish? Do you set objectives and goals for the time, money and effort you are putting into networking?
The purpose of networking is to identify potential:
• Business Partners
• Vendors and Service Providers
• Gate Openers
• Qualified Leads
Networking events are NOT for you to:
1. Shove business cards in people’s hands without even an introduction or handshake
2. Push your agenda on other attendees without any consideration of what they are in need of or doing
3. Dominate discussions and then move on once you have spit out your introduction (and your possible novel length dump of products and services)
Last Tuesday I was enjoying a very nice lunch with twenty or so women at a business social, networking and business award ceremony. As I sat at the table of eight deep in conversation with the very smart women at the table, a young woman came up behind me only to push a business card in front of my face. She did not reach out to shake my hand and provided no introduction. She was saying something but it all sounded like “wah, wah, wah, wah, wah”...as I was to taken aback as to how rude she was being. She proceeded to do the same thing to the other seven women...and they in turn reacted the same way. Needless to say her card was left behind on the table and the only impression she made was “No way...never.” I only know her name because I intentionally looked over at her business card so I can recall her should I see her again. A major DON”T.
If you want to get the most out of your time, money, effort, and all of the attendees of networking events:
1. Prior to going to the event:
o Determine who or what group of people are attending and identify the people you want to meet and talk with.
o Define 2 goals for attending the event, i.e. # of meets, # of qualified contacts, # of potential partner, # of appointments set, etc.
2. SMILE, put out your hand, and introduce yourself
3. Ask questions of the other party then just LISTEN!
Consider this - if you should go to any event, work to help others, identify leads or referrals for others, and meet and greet the others WITHOUT expecting anything in return at that event...impress people with your smile, questions, and offering of help...then wait and see the flurry of help, support and leads you will receive going forward!