The Rules of Networking!
Ever go to a public swimming pool? Pool Rules are always posted to protect everyone and insure a safe swimming experience. Imagine if there were rules posted at every networking event you attended, including association meetings, conferences, conventions, trade shows, chamber mixers, golf outings, and community venues.
Have no fear! Pool Rules of Networking are here! Follow these rules to insure you maximize your networking efforts. So Network safe!
No selling - ever!
Networking is about a relationship not pitching your products and services.
Everyone is NOT a prospect.
The people you meet at events could become prospects - don't assume they are.
It is never about you.
Always try to learn about the person (or people) you meet first.
Decide on a target market.
Who do you serve best and therefore wish to meet?
Create (and use!) your elevator pitch.
Good to be prepared with a punchy, memorable, different statement about yourself.
Be positive, professional and respectful - always!
It's the image you want to present to others. Positive people attract positive people.
Look the part.
Have the best appearance you can as appropriate to the event you are attending.
Know about contacts, leads and referrals.
A contact is a name, a lead is someone using your name, a referral is an introduction.
Understand your chickens and eggs.
Your "eggs" are prospects (potential customers), your "chickens" refer you to them.
Eat and drink strategically.
Insure eating and drinking doesn't replace networking.
Have your tools of the trade.
Business cards, a couple of pens, index cards, breath mints, and guts.
Initiate conversations by introducing yourself.
Smile and introduce yourself with confidence and conviction.
Have good questions to ask.
After an introduction ask questions about them.
Have a goal and a plan.
Know why you are there and hava a plan for getting what you want.
Listen more, talk less.
The more you listen the more you will learn.
Keep your eyes focused on your conversation.
Maintain eye contact with the people you speak with as appropriate.
Introduce others with passion.
When introducing people to one another be informative and enthusiastic.
Implement a time limit.
Try not to be in any one conversation longer that 6-8 minutes.
Terminate conversations politely.
Have an exit strategy while excusing yourself politely and with integrity.
Always initiative follow up when there is good reason to do so.
Smile! Life is too important to take seriously.