As promised, herein begins a weekly discussion on the art of networking. I’ll continue to write a weekly article for the betterment and (maybe) the instruction of my fellow man until I get bored or think of something else to write.
There are ten or so rules of networking that one violates at one’s own peril and at risk of public shame. They are in order of priority. Start with the first and do not move on to the next step until you master the previous one.
- Show up. On a seemingly regular basis, I bump into people that join a networking group, never go to an event, and then quit because they “never got anything out of it.” Can’t imagine why not.
- Dress like you are somebody. If you are an insurance salesman, it probably would not be a good idea to go to an event dressed like you’re off to a redneck bar. Dress the part that’s appropriate for your job. If you are clueless as to what’s right to wear, hire a fashion coach or have your spouse check you out before you leave home.
- Brush your teeth. Dude, do I REALLY have to talk about this? It happens more often than you might think. Nothing is worse (well, an IRS audit maybe) than listening to somebody’s elevator speech when they have breath bad enough to gag a buzzard.
- Bring your business cards Another “duh” and it occurs with remarkable frequency. You would not forget your cell phone or your car would you? Of course not. It’s part of your morning checklist. You know, brain: check, clothes: check, brushed teeth: double check, business cards: check. Sheesh.
- Be on time. You are not going to be “announced” when you walk in, are you? Arrested perhaps, but probably not announced. This is not a red carpet affair and you are more than likely NOT going to meet a glamorous movie star. You don’t need to “make an entrance.” Drop your name in the fishbowl and get some coffee. Nuff said.
- Know how to use the predominant language. Most of us in these parts are native English speakers so it would be of immense value if you have a command of English grammar. Do try to sound as if you know how to communicate in coherent sentences.
- Know what you want When you are explaining what it is you do for your daily bread, have something more substantial to say than “I sell cars and do you want to buy one?” Further, when asked who your target market is, please have something more specific to say than “people with money.”
Ok, that’s only seven. Work on these and I will give you the other three next week or as soon as I can think them up.