My friend and mentor, Eric M. Morgenstern, President and CEO, Morningstar Communications is a master networker. Eric provides the following ten (well, eleven) steps for achieving success at networking events and mixers… I can’t possibly improve on them so I share them with you just as I received them from Eric:
- Nametag on the right – Place your nametag on your right lapel or side. That way, it is easier for your contacts to discreetly recall (and later, remember) your name when they go to shake your hand.
- Restate Their Name – When you are first introduced, say the person’s name right back to them. Not only will this ensure you got it right, you have a much greater likelihood of remembering it. Using a person’s name also personalizes the conversation.
- Share / Get – Before you go to any networking event, say to yourself, “this is something I’d like to share; this is something I’d like to get.” A great new store or restaurant… perhaps a supplier… non-business suggestions work well. Effective networking is both give and take.
- “Questions are the creative acts of intelligence” – This quote, from Einstein, plays very well in networking. Asking smart, open-ended questions gets the person talking. Put on your “reporter” hat and listen intently, and the conversation will easily evolve.
- The early bird catches the connections – Arrive early so you can become acclimated to the environment. You’ll have some of your best conversations when the room isn’t quite as crowded.
- Stand by the food / bar – The attendees will come by you, and it will be easy to find things to discuss.
- Think quality vs. quantity – Strive for making just one or two good conversations that lead to subsequent discussions. This is worth much more than a pocket full of business cards without any real connections.
- Write on business cards – As soon as your conversation ends, scribble a few notes on the back of their card. It will jog your memory for follow-up.
- It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you – Be memorable, in a good way. Help the people you meet remember you by asking great questions, telling a poignant story, or following up in an appropriate manner.
- Don’t say “fine” – When a stranger asks, “How are you?” You’re not fine. Nobody’s fine. Give a real answer that’s memorable and magnetic. Something like, “Excellent.” Or “I’m doing great…how are you today?”
And a bonus tip…
11. The power of a hand-written note – The single best way to leave a positive and memorable impression is simply a brief, hand-written thank you note sent within 24 hours after the contact.
‘nuf said. Now, at which networking event will you put these awesome ideas to action? Go on. Schedule yourself right now! Tomorrow… write a review.