Do’s and Don’ts If You Must Attend a Networking ‘Social’

I have attended more of networking events than I can count in my 35 years in business. It is one of the toughest environments to come across, in my opinion, so I thought I’ve give some advice on how to get the most out of work socials:

Do:

Arrive early, but don’t walk in early. Find a corner or even stay in your car and get your mindset ready! Double check your business card supply (you should never be without a card if someone asks).  Put your smile on, suck it up, and greet people like you like them and want to get to know their work world better. Because the truth is, you should.

Don’t:

Drink too much. If alcohol is present, your limit should be zero or one. If you are in an environment where you feel you need a drink in your hand to ‘fit in’ go with a club soda and keep the slice of lime on the glass.

Do:

Follow up. Anyone that offers you a card should get a note from you that night. That’s right, don’t go to bed until a hand written note or email is sent. I carry 50 note cards with me with stamps already attached to the envelope. After an event I go to my car, write a note to everyone that gave me a card, then find a mailbox to send them in and head home.

Mike Brubaker photo - do's and don'ts of networking 2

Don’t:

Go too far. One big mistake is taking business too far. A business social function is usually just to meet and greet. When you get into a conversation where it is clear the person you’re talking to WANTS to do business …. STOP. Instead, tell them you are highly interested in a higher level business conversation, but frankly this is not the right environment. “May I call you tomorrow and set a time that I can visit you in your office?” is a response that almost always works.

Do:

Smile. Yes, smile. It makes all the difference in the world. If the environment is loud (and almost all socials are, thanks to the loud talkers, which I sometimes can’t stand) you may be squinting or crunching your face to hear. Believe me, not your best look. Show interest and ask questions about the person you’re talking to. Many people enjoy talking about themselves – so make them happy and emphasize how much you want to listen.

Don’t:

Appear scattered. It’s the worst possible offense and it happens all the time. When you’re talking to someone keep your eyes on them and don’t be scanning the room. Key word here is FOCUS on the person you’re talking to. The easiest way to piss off the important person you’re talking to is to be scanning the room. You give them the impression that others are more important. Keep this in mind, you want the person to say to themselves after your brief introduction, “wow… that was a really nice person, I can’t believe how interested she was in me, my company, and my product line”.

Do:

Dress Appropriately. You know what that means. You want to gain attention 1:1 with your interest in the other person, not shake the room up with your style selection. Keep it simple and keep it classy.

Don’t:

Stay until the end. That is when the over drinkers start to perform, and nothing ever happens productively in that situation. Always end your night on a positive note and leave at an appropriate time with confidence that you’ve met some great connections, because chances are you did!

2017-06-19T15:03:46+00:00 May 26th, 2016|Blog, Networking|0 Comments

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