Topic of the Week I Get Around - Strategies for Getting The Most Out of Networking Meetings
DON'T wing it.
DO have a destination in mind.
DO get emotional.
DO find images, metaphors and examples
Networking is always important, but it's even more important in an uncertain economy. But how do you make the time to network when you're already busy doing the job of three people who've been laid off? Which reminds me of when a deer crashed into a house in Lima, OH while a man watched football on TV. Jeff Berger got out of the way safely when the deer broke through the window. But then something interesting happened, the deer jumped on the couch that Jeff had been sitting on only moments before. Police had to chase the deer off the couch and back into the woods.
That's one way to go into a networking opportunity, like that deer, to just to crash in. There are other ways, more effective ways. I've listed three Do's and one Don't for taking better advantage of your next networking opportunity below. For more, check out, "Own the Room" by Booth, Shames and Desberg (McGraw Hill, 2010).
DON'T wing it. It's tough to be effective when you just crash into a networking opportunity. That's why it's important to do your homework before the meeting. Contact the organization holding the event to see if you can get a list of participants. This will give you the chance to do some research before the meeting on people and companies represented. Also pay attention to what's going on in your local business community. What businesses are thriving and what ones are hurting. But don't stop there, come up with strategies, specific strategies, for how you can help them weather the storm.
DO have a destination in mind. What would you like to leave the room with? Contacts for getting a job? Clients who you could work with on projects? Companies that might want to buy your product or service? Connections for volunteer opportunities? I understand that every networking opportunity is a bit of a wild card. It helps to know what you'd like to get out of the meeting right from the start. The difficult part is that your needs often change. So you've really got to ask yourself this question ever time you talk to someone new.
DO get emotional. Facts are important. But often what we remember is the emotional connection to someone or something. So when you talk to people in a networking environment, don't leave your emotions back in the office or at home. Show them. Not screaming at the waiter, of course, but as passion for what you can contribute.
DO find images, metaphors and examples. Again, how much do you remember from the last dinner party or networking meeting that you attended? Probably not much. That's not because your getting forgetful, it's that most people present their information in a very forgettable way. That's why it's important to use images, metaphors and examples. They tend to stay in the brain longer.
Use these strategies and you won't have to crash any more networking meetings, your network will be alive and well.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out his newly revised best-seller "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via [email protected].
Thought of the Week
"The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work."
–Robert T. Kiyosaki
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• Dressing inappropriately, 57%
• Appearing disinterested, 55%
• Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer, 52%
• Appearing arrogant, 51%
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• Not providing specific answers, 34%
• Not asking good questions, 34%