Networking Essentials

August 24, 2011

by Tony Peccolo

Today, networking is an important part of business…especially if you are in a job transition.

Turn the People You Meet Into Meaningful Connections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. When in transition, you are in the “business of you.” You need to get out, meet people, build trust, “pay forward” (help others), gain referrals and learn what opportunities are out there.

As you work to schedule your time, be open to the unusual. Your next job can come from an unlikely source or place. One of the best opportunities in my career resulted from a contact made at a “Mothers of Multiples” event.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve optimum results from your networking efforts at the next business event you attend:

1. Arrive 10-to-15 minutes early. Introduce yourself to the organizers and preview the guest list or the display of pre-printed name tags. Target a few individuals to start, and get the organizers’ help to arrange an introduction if possible.

2. Use a firm handshake. Shaking hands remains a critical factor in creating a good first impression. Make eye contact and repeat a person’s name as you are introduced to them.

3. Keep your introduction VERY brief. Don’t dump your “elevator pitch” on new people. Your primary objective is to meet people who may be able to help you later — during a follow-up coffee meeting, lunch or the like. Keep your tone friendly, yet professional with a clear statement of what you are looking to do.

4. Make business card exchanges meaningful. Only exchange business cards with someone when it will be of benefit to both of you. Share your card when the other person asks for one (always) or when you are able to offer assistance with something they want or need. With your growing network, you can be a resource to them too.

5. Join group conversations. Be sensitive to a conversation already going on. Approach the group and stand quietly. Wait for a break in the conversation or for someone to look your way. If no one looks in your direction and the conversation continues without any break, exit quickly with a simple “pardon me.”

6. Leave conversations politely. Avoid monopolizing people’s time, even if it’s someone you’ve wanted to meet at the event. Also…avoid being monopolized by someone else. After a few minutes of a meaningful exchange, move on by saying something like, “Please excuse me. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you.” Make reference to following up and meeting later if you have agreed to do so.

7. Meet your tablemates. If the event you are attending is a lunch or dinner, go around the table to introduce yourself. Select a seat on the opposite side of people you’ve just met. Leave seats on both sides of you empty, to be filled by other guests.

8. Follow-up! You’ve just met a number of interesting professionals! You’ve likely exchanged business cards or contact information with people who may have agreed to meet you later. Show you are interested in them, and that you respect their expertise and time, via a short note sent within 24-to-48 hours. Call those who have already offered to meet you to set-up a time and place. And, make sure to fulfill any promises you made to people you met.


Finally, get out there and have fun!

http://TeneoTalent.com offers a new process of sales recruiting that uses sales assessments for both employers and job seekers to create long term fits.  We also offer career development tools through our sales career coaching program, including resume writing. We offer career advice, career matching and although our organization has a national focus, and have many Denver and Boulder sales jobs available at the moment.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Costa August 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

Great advice. Well written.

Joel Meier August 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Hmmm…my approach to business cards has been “Give to anyone that will take it!”
Tony suggests, “Make business card exchanges meaningful.” While I do believe it is true most of mine might be sent to a circular file, it seems them mass market approach is not a waste of time.

Sharon August 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Great info–I would add be positive and energetic at events, be a resource for others and find out how you can help them! Regarding follow-up be among the 10%ers….fact is that 90% of people never follow up after an event, put yourself in the 10% that do!

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