Thursday, February 18, 2010
Networking preparation: Having the right tools.
Networking is like the watering hole in the wild. Everyone gathered around the water, lapping up connections, sales and products, ultimately nurturing their business with its essential substance for survival: clients. Depending on who is being talked to, one becomes the predator or the prey; each person waiting to pounce on their next customer or submitting to an amazing product or service.
It’s a jungle of communications, wooing, schmoozing and connecting. You have to go in ready for whatever gets thrown at you. Preparation is key to survival.
There is more to preparation than having a well-polished, 30-second commercial or offering a special promotion or product; it is about making sure you are armed with the right tools for presenting yourself as polished and professional.
There are 5 essential tools to keep in your car in preparation for networking:
1.Brush or comb
2.Cologne or perfume
5.Extra business cards
You should go into every event ready to network, not needing to groom. You can fix your makeup and comb your hair in the car, including a teeth check with the floss; spritz that cologne or perfume before you shut the door and give yourself a once over in the reflection of your car window as you lock the door. Don’t keep things that can melt like cover-up or deodorant in your car - it isn’t pleasant (trust me.) I would recommend getting a pencil bag for these items (minus the business cards) and leave it at your desk so you can just grab it before an event.
There are only 5 essential tools you need to bring in at almost any networking event:
1.Your business cards/cell phone (on vibrate)
2.A Shapie (Black or a Silver ink pen)
These are the only things you need at any networking event. The bathroom has soap to wash your hands if germs freak you out, and you were smart enough to groom in the car before heading into the event. The Sharpie allows for you to write notes on the cards you receive about the owner of the card; the Sharpie is especially important, with so many people getting glossy coated cards. If you go with the silver pen, it is an added bonus in case someone has a black glossy coated card.
There is a lot of close proximity at these events and a lot of talking; be kind, have good breath. Bad breath can really turn people off, especially if you are eating or drinking at the event (which is what the cash is for.)
Preparation for the networking event itself is just as important as preparing what is said at the networking event. Keep it simple, keep it light and focus on the task at hand: hunting prey.