I launched the Social Fusion Network in January 2012, since then it’s become a very popular local business networking group in the Greater Golden Horseshoe with thousands of members. Because of this success I am often asked to speak or write about business networking and how to improve our networking skills.
Today I’m sharing 42 networking tips because networking isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. For the record I am a “lazy networker” and use technology wherever I can to intelligently leverage my actions, and lastly I am a high-functioning introvert – not an extrovert as some might think. This simply means that while I love networking, I need to recharge or nap when I get home! Networking for me is a learned skill too …
So without further ado, here are 42 Easy Business Networking Tips
￼1. Arrive early … figure out the entry and exits, locate the “best spot” to scope the room.
2. Introduce yourself to the event host and venue staff – thank them. Event production is hard work!
3. When meeting people, ask “How would I know if I met a perfect lead for you? What would I look for? Etc …”
4. Ask questions. Discover what they want, what they need. Avoid the “Spanish Inquisition” approach though 🙂
5. Know WHY you are at this networking event. Seriously … why are you there?
6. Be bright, be brief, be bold. No one likes a ‘Debbie-Downer’
7. Have a firm handshake. Avoid holding your cold drink in the same hand … wet handshakes = no no. [TIP] Since most people use their right – keep drink in your left.
8. If you touch or hug someone … “Don’t Take.” If in doubt … DON’T DO IT.
9. Be open to the possibility that something great will happen & that nothing great will happen!
10. Before you attend the event, review the attendee list to see who you’d like to connect with.
11. Less is more. Better to make one or two good connections than 20 weak and forgettable ones …
12. Body language tip > Avoid fidgeting, touching your face. You look “shady” if you do this.
13. Body language tip > Watch the head tilt, and don’t lean in too much. The head tilt is “compliant”
14. Carry a pen and maybe a small notebook to jot notes – you’ll look cool and professional making notes
15. Carry twice as many cards as many as you think you’ll need. One for your new contact, and one for them to share.
16. Don’t be a “me too” toady. Too much “me too” is creepy and disingenuous. People like similar people, but don’t overdo it.
17. Don’t be argumentative. If you don’t agree – let it go. Move on. Be diplomatic.
18. Don’t be late. In fact arrive a few minutes early. Remember you can meet the host, scope the venue and find the washrooms!
19. Don’t be seen standing still. Don’t be that person. Movement in moderation is good. Manic movement … not so much.
20. Don’t get drunk if alcohol is being served. Think: SMARTPHONE / PICTURE / AWKWARD 4EVER!
21. Don’t gossip. What goes around comes around and people are funny about tattle-tales. It’s bad mojo anyway.
22. Don’t interrupt people or hi-jack the conversation. Be polite, pause and wait for your moment.
23. Don’t judge people. You don’t know them or their circumstances at that moment. We all have off days. Be kind.
24. Don’t make inappropriate compliments or comments about a person’s looks, dress or body.
25. Don’t put sticky name labels on leather, silk or fragile clothing – the good labels stick … and can leave a mark.
26. Don’t scowl and or squint. Remember your glasses if you need them. Open eyes are welcoming.
27. Don’t shove someone’s card in your pocket when they hand it to you. Hold it, refer to it. It’s great when you need to recall their name.
28. Don’t stare at people. It’s aggressive … or suggestive. You choose.
29. Don’t stay with your friends if you arrived with them. It’s called NETWORKING so go and network.
30. Don’t take NO personally. You never really know why it’s a no. It’s all about context.
￼31. Don’t talk about RELIGION, SEX or POLITICS (Unless that’s what the event is about!)
32. Don’t try and close people at the event. It’s called networking not selling. Don’t be that guy/ gal.
33. Don’t use the networking event to pickup women/men. I could tell you some stories …
34. Don’t wear strong perfume or cologne. Some people are allergic and moreover, smell is personal. Why risk it?
35. Don’t work the room – no one likes being “worked”
36. Don’t write too much on your name tag – I prefer first name only 🙂 It makes me mysterious and stops people filtering me out.
37. Ensure you have fresh breath. Keep breath freshener handy. Tic Tacs help. I like the little blue plastic strips too.
38. Eye-contact is good … when you first meet someone, hold the gaze for an extra second or two. Long enough to seem confident.
39. Make your business cards EASY TO READ. Avoid tiny print and cutesy designs. Impart your message clearly.
40. Never refuse a business card when offered. Seriously … I saw someone do this once. It’s RUDE!
41. Make the person feel better about meeting you than not. Hey, why not add a little sunshine to someone’s day?
42. Follow up after the event. Send a thank you. Email is fine. Handwritten notes = ROCKSTAR!