Networking DOs & DONT's

To network effectively you need networking etiquette. Here are a few DOs & DONT's in effective networking.
The DOs:

  • Carefully craft out the impression you want to make in line with the image you have chosen for yourself. Your language and dress sense should reflect this.
  • Carefully choose your meeting and gathering. Get tickets to the ‘right’ concerts, start playing tennis or gulf, do some research to find out what the key players do and where they hang out.
  • Draw up a list of the folks whose world you want to be a part of and read up on them to find out what interests you have in common.
  • Every meeting is unique learn about the purpose of the gathering. Learn about the people that would be present. So you would know who to target and who to steer clear off. But there are no hard and fast rules so be flexible.
  • Smile: Keep an easy smile on your face all the time.
  • Dress successful, dress rich and most importantly dress comfortable.
  • Focus more on other people and listen more to what others do and like.
  • Offer to help. When someone happens to mention a need, offer to help even if you don’t think the person is worth the ‘investment’. You might be underestimating a good prospect.
  • Be genuine. Be sincerely interested or curious about the things you ask about. No faking.
  • Develop a rapport with people and make friends first. Understand that people may not remember what you do but they would remember that you like their perfume, that you both support the same football team, or favour the same brand for watches.
  • Relax and never be in a rush, you always follow up.
  • Make proper and comfortable arrangements for your transportation to the venue and back.
  • Be willing to sit with strangers and chat. Simply be open; don’t force it.
  • Walk up to strangers to say hello and pay a complement. Introduce yourself and talk about them; not yourself.
  • Keep it short and move on, but be flexible if the other person wants a little chat.
  • If you are shy get there early. It is easier than walking into a full room.
  • Be willing to travel for the sake of networking.
  • Hold your drink like an accessory. Do not sip much. Heaven forbid you get tipsy in front of these people. Especially with punch – how would you know what they mixed?
  • When you say hello: A firm handshake, a smile and a quick (friendly) eye contact.
  • Be very polite; even to the ushers and waiters. Good breeding scores points.

The DON’Ts:

  • Forget to take a large supply of business cards along.
  • Interrupt other people’s conversations.
  • Delve into negative personal matters.
  • Compete for attention.
  • Announce your contact data. Use your business card.
  • Distribute your business cards to everyone; that cheapens it.
  • Promote your business; run a commercial with every acquaintance.
  • Ask for people’s business card immediately. Build the rapport first.
  • Stay shy. Shake it off. This is an adventure.
  • Meddle in other people’s business. Keep conversations light and polite.
  • Gossip. Don’t let anyone draw you into it.
  • Get stuck in a pointless conversation with a bunch of layabouts in suits.
  • Stay in your comfort zone: Sitting with your old friends. The purpose is to make new friends.
  • Monopolise a person all night. It backfires. Remember that person is also there to network.
  • Ignore social graces: perfect hygiene, impeccable manners, low volume laughter, fresh breath, eye contact with every conversation, generosity with your handshakes, never invade other people’s personal space, etc.
  • Bitch about a guest/host to others.
  • Be shy about taking notes.
  • Forget to follow up or keep promises to call or visit within 3 days maximum.
  • Forget to thank the host before you leave.
  • Forget to call the host the next day to show appreciation and pay an honest compliment.
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