Sad but true I have overhead these statements at some recent events:
- I sell long term care insurance. Keep me in mind. (This said to someone that they had just met.)
- (I asked) May I have your card? (They replied) Mmm, not certain I could do anything for you.
- Let me tell you about a fabulous FILL IN BUSINESS CATEGORY (Extolling the virtues of someone when a member of their networking community that does the same work was part of the conversation.)
- (I asked) Hi, what’s your name? (Person responds and then turns away.)
- I’d love to grab some coffee and tell you about my business. (Not a word about being curious about the other person’s business.)
Oh I could go on and on but I’m certain that you’ve heard them too. We all have.
So what’s the answer:
- Take a long close look at yourself and think about what you say and how you say it at networking events. Could you be “guilty” of any of the above?
- Be prepared with good networking “openers” and “closers” BEFORE you are at the event! Don’t be so certain that you will be able to think on your feet. (Don’t know any good openers or closers? Email me and I’d be happy to share a bunch of them.)
- Be sensitive to your surroundings and to the person with whom you are conversing. Think the person is 65 or older and so you launch into Social Security and Medicare chat and how you can help them. Well what if they are 55? You’ve just royally pissed them off and lost a good networking referral source as well. Talk about getting egg on your face.
- Be curious. It’s more important to learn information than to give information. Control the path of the networking conversation by asking questions.
Have any networking engagements on your calendar? Now is the time to think about what you want to accomplish and how you expect to do it. Be careful with your words. First impressions are awfully difficult to erase.