I know some of our points might seem almost childish, in the category of your mother, when you were a kid, reminding you to say "please" and "thank you." But, we live in a world of email and texts, and it's surprising how many of you have forgotten the art of conversation, the importance of a firm handshake and eye contact when you're talking to somebody. Scott hits on seven basics to help you launch each new friendship and "invitation" into your network in the right direction.
as something tainted by flattery and the pursuit of selfish advantage.
But virtue in obscurity is rewarded only in Heaven.
To succeed in this world you have to be known to people."
- Never eat alone! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the perfect times to get to know somebody new or for that matter catch up to old friends. And, the topics to talk about over a meal are endless.
- Make a few reservations at restaurants in advance. No matter where the convention is held and how many restaurants are in the area, it's nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve when it comes time for dinner. Check out the area you're headed to online before your arrival and lock in a couple of dinner reservations for groups of four.
- Design a marketing piece to show a little of your work. The days of carrying a big portfolio of images are long gone, as are showing dozens of images on your phone. However, an over-sized postcard with 3-5 great photos is a perfect leave-behind piece for new friends and vendors you meet at a conference.
- Arrive at classes/presentations a few minutes early. Give yourself time to meet the speaker and the people sitting around you.
- Use Scott's "ice-breakers" to start conversations with people sitting on either side of you at every program you attend. Every presentation is an opportunity for you to meet more people and b
Remember, successful networking is about your number one best marketing tool - building relationships!
With the annual trade show and convention season almost upon us, it's never too early to start thinking about how you'll get the most out of each event. Here are some networking conversation starters and tips to get you going.
- When you shake hands with someone, look them in the eye and repeat their name - twice if possible. This shows you're engaged with them and helps you remember who they are. If you're comfortable doing it, lean in to the person when you shake hands. This is a sign of acceptance and warmth.
- When you're talking to someone look them in the eye - not over their shoulder to see if someone more important is nearby.
- Put away the cell phone when you're meeting face-to-face. Tweet later. Update Facebook later. For now, try some old fashioned HUMAN networking.
- Listen more than you talk and ask lots of open-ended questions. If you want to be a successful networker you're going to have to learn that it takes caring about the other person's needs to get yours met.
- Ask what one big problem or challenge your new friend faces and if you have a possible solution, offer it - don't sell - just offer to help.
- Be sincere. Don't make promises you can't keep. If you're not truly interested in someone, spend enough time to be polite but move on. No sense in building false expectations.
- Introduce your new friend to at least two of your old friends, preferably before you leave your current conversation. This way you're not just walking away, but you're doing something that might turn out to be super helpful.
And remember as always, Skip and I are rooting for you.