Friday, May 24th, 2019

10 Networking Do’s and Don’ts

By Narges Nirumvala on Apr 02 2012 • Filed under The Power Communicator

10 Networking Do's and Don'ts for Business (Photo: Muriel Miralles de Sawicki)As I write this month’s column, I’m getting ready to go to a networking event. I try to limit myself to 2-3 a month; otherwise it can be a little overwhelming for my already busy schedule. Why is a public speaking and presentation skills coach talking about networking? Because networking is front line, face-to-face communication, that every entrepreneur must master. You have mere seconds to make a powerful first impression or they’ll switch off and you’ve lost them forever.

So here’s my list of do’s and don’ts:

1. Do remember that quality is more important than quantity.

Networking is about building relationships, not getting as many business cards as possible.

2. Don’t hit me over the head with your business card.

This is a big pet peeve of mine. People always pull out their business card right away – I think the polite thing to do is to wait until you are asked.

3. Do have your elevator speech down.

You must be able to tell people who you are and what you do in seconds. Don’t be afraid to make it interesting and fun! Working with a public speaking coach is a great way to learn how to create a killer elevator speech.

4. Don’t get too caught up in your smart phone.

You go to any networking event today and you see so many people standing alone texting or tweeting. They might as well be at home – I don’t know why they bother to come out and be with other human beings at all!

5. Do show a genuine interest in what other people have to say.

Listen attentively to what the other person is saying. Ask them questions. What do they do? What do they need help with?

6. Don’t ask for referrals from people you just met.

A friend told me about someone she had just met at a networking event who asked her for a referral right away. Obviously she was surprised and explained that she would need to get to know them better first.

7. Do take your business cards with you.

The number of times I’ve met people only to have them say, I forgot my business cards!

8. Don’t look like you just got out of bed.

I know that beauty shines from within, but it doesn’t help if you haven’t washed your hair in a month and you’re wearing your favourite sweats. I always dress to impress and so should you.

9. Don’t drink too much!

This is a BIG one. Drinking alcohol will impact the way you communicate and even your body language. Don’t drink at all if you’re driving – it’s not worth it!

10. Do follow up with the people you meet after either by email or social media.

Only about 10% of the people I meet at networking events follow up with me. That’s pretty shocking right? Send them a short email or an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter etc…

These tips are born out of my personal experiences attending hundreds of networking events. Ultimately my goal when networking is to expand my circle of professional contacts and see how we can help each other. That’s it – simple. Over the years I’ve been very lucky and many of the people I’ve met over a glass of wine at an event are now my clients and even my friends. So take the time to master those front line communication skills and see where they can take you.


Do you have a question about networking? Do you have tips you'd like to add to Narges list of Do's and Don'ts? Leave your comments below.


2 Comments

  1. Thank you for providing this informative article. I have to admit at the last social gathering with former colleagues I committed #2 on the list above. It was the first time I had business cards, was unemployed, and it was near the holiday. I am sure it came across as desperation. However, I have professional society volunteer opportunities coming up and will keep this advice in mind.

    Also, when they ask for a business card, is it appropriate to quickly mention my professional social media link that is on the card and suggest an add? Or is better to just quickly mention the link, then later after the event invite them as a contact with a brief statement such as ‘It was a pleasure meeting you at such and such event. I enjoyed our discussion about such and such. Please feel free to add me as a contact.’?

    • Hi Patty,
      You’ve touched on a very ‘touchy’ subject. 🙂 There are so many different opinions on this and I can only give you mine . . .

      I have made it a business policy to only ‘connect’, ‘link’ or ‘like’ people that I have personally had a conversation with and my first impression is favourable. I believe in being a ‘connector’ and not a ‘collector’ so it is unimportant how may ‘likes’ I have or what the number of contacts I have in my LinkedIn account.
      There is no need to have a huge list. You know enough people that you can easily get an introduction through them AND it will be a ‘warm’ intro.

      Your information is there on your card so those that want to have the SM connection will follow up.

      If they haven’t extended that contact first and you wish to be connected to them through SM, it is better that an invitation come from you AFTER a follow up conversation or if you had the opportunity when you first met to actually have a conversation and not just an infomercial, then an invite as a follow up would be acceptable.

      I hope that helps. I invite you to join our TCWA LinkedIn group http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1864493 or Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TheConnectedWoman where questions just like this are welcome!

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