Two thousand nine is here and you promised to hit more networking events. So before you walk out the door, make sure you have all the bows in your networking quiver. Or you will quiver once you get in the room. Here are five essentials.
1. Business cards: Obvious one, right? Sometimes you grab a bunch, but that bunch is not big enough. Grab a lot. I have a pretty big biz card holder. It’s fatter than a wallet, so I never run out, but if I did, I wouldn’t fret because I also use Dropcard.
The premise is simple. Someone gives you their business card. You panic slightly as you grope your empty card holder. Oh, wait a minute! I have Dropcard (cue superhero music). You grab your cellphone (who forgets to bring those nowadays?) and text “drop firstname.lastname@example.org” to 41411. That person will receive an instant email of your Dropcard. I use the free version, but if you want to add logo and attachments, there is a premium charge.
Dropcard :: Preview My Dropcard via kwout
2. Elevator Speech: A condensed version of what you do. Some folks say 15 seconds, some say 60 ticks is the way to go. I say break it down into 2 or 3 mini speeches. Give em your intro and watch the body language. If it’s good, drop the second piece and gauge the temperature again and drop the rest at your own risk. If you have a smile and a pulse, they won’t fall asleep during your spiel. Make sure that you use language that everyone can understand. You have no idea how many people do not know what a publicist does. (Insert own joke, here).
3. Tuned up memory: That means that before you left the house, you scanned your rolodex and recent emails. and maybe you took notes from yesterday’s networking meeting. A true networker, first and foremost, is looking to connect their brand new friends with their old friends. In conversation, your new friend says something that makes you think of Joe. “It’s funny you mentioned that, I have a buddy who was looking to hire someone to do that for him, I will put you two in touch.” You have to have your friends in the front of your mind, so that you can make this lasting impression with your new (best) acquaintance. The last thing you want to do is start the conversation off with “how can you help me get business right now at this moment.” That’s called Notworking.
4. Mental timer: You should not stay engrossed in a conversation too long. There are more people to meet. And you don’t know who knows who (that’s networking speak for “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”). Keep track of how many folks are in the room and what time the event is over, so that you can mingle and meet as many networkers as possible. Keep a soft count in your head and a good excuse to jump away from the convo. At a good pause, drop the line, “Let me get your info, so that we can keep in touch. The gentleman over there is leaving and a colleague wanted to make sure that we said hello to each other.” Or use the bathroom line. Or the food table excuse. Just don’t look rushed and too eager to leave the conversation.
5. Gum or mints. No explanation necessary.