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Your ESSENTIAL Networking Toolkit

While there are a number of useful things you can utilise when networking, there are only 4 plus 1 essential ‘tools’ you need with you for every networking meeting you attend.  Your business cards, a pen, a good name badge and most importantly, your smile.

This way you have:

Something for people to remember you by

Something to make notes with about where you met the person – often do this on the back of their card

Something to make it easy for people to spot you across a room and to come and say hello

Your smile to break the ice and make introductions easy.

The ‘Plus 1′ is a small pocket notebook so you can make a note about the person you have met and plan your follow up actions.

Keep in mind that you want people to remember you long after the meeting when they are going through the business cards they gathered during the event.  You also want to ensure that you in particular stand out among all the names on the delegate list.

Your business card is far more than just a way to give someone your name and contact details.  It creates an impression.  It is your opportunity to highlight several of the key things you want people to know about you and your business and of course, it is the way you can ensure your face is remembered when the names and faces of others who attend the same events may become blurred in the memory of your new contact.

By putting your photograph on your business card you ensure a visual connection between you name and your face so your new contact will find it much easier to remember you.

When you meet someone new, a great tip is to make a note on their business card about where and when you met them and also where possible, a simple note about that person to help you remember them.  This will typically be something they have mentioned either about personal interests or their business – either way, pick something that will be a memory hook about them.

If you are to make a note on the card, always ask permission first and do so on the back because the front of the card is considered as being like the person’s face so you never write on the face as this is a mark of disrespect.  Better still, carry a small pocket notebook so you can make your notes here instead.

Wear your name badge high on your right hand side so it is as close to eye level as possible.  The reason for this is that you generally shake hands with our right hand and as you move forward, this will bring your name badge forward and make it easy to read thereby making introductions easy.

Keep your badge simple and clear and never use a business card in a card holder as the information is too small and too cluttered to be read easily.  A business card is usually designed to be read at close quarters, either when in your hand or on your desk and won’t really help you in easing the introduction process in a busy networking event.  Your name badge should be readable from several feet away.

The easiest and still most consistently effective way to break the ice with someone when you first meet is simply to smile.  It is very rare that when you smile at someone, that you will not receive a smile in return.  Your smile conveys warmth, approachability and friendliness so relax and enjoy ice breaking the easy way.

Once you have made eye contact and smiled at someone and they have returned the gestures, it becomes very easy to take the next step and simply say ‘Hi, my name is (your first name) may I join you?’ or if you can read their name badge clearly ‘Hello (their name), my name is (your first name only to keep the greeting less formal and more friendly), may I join you?’  Remember, with a good name badge they will see your full name anyway so you really don’t need to say it all in every introduction.

Your pocket notebook is excellent for making a discreet note after your conversation so you can ensure you remember particular details about them and plan your follow up.  It is also a great back up tool in case they haven’t got their business cards as you can make a note of their contact details anyway.

Practice these 5 very simple things and you will soon notice just how quickly and easily you become highly effective at introducing yourself during networking events and the as you do this, you will also become aware how quickly and easily you grow your network of contacts.

Other useful networking tools include:

Fresh breath spray or some mints – bad breath gets you noticed although not the way you want to be remembered.  Keep a small breath freshener spray with you at all times and you can remove this potential concern.  The other bonus is that very often when you are in situations you consider stressful, like meeting strangers for instance, you can experience a dry mouth and a quick spray of breath freshener helps to overcome this.

Some marketing literature – while you are not there to sell to anyone on the day it can be useful to have some of your marketing literature with you in case anyone asks for more information about your products or services.  However it is better to travel light and be nimble in that the less you have to hold the more relaxed you feel so by not taking your marketing literature you have the opportunity to send this to your new contacts or to drop it in personally after the event because is a great way to follow up quickly with a second meeting or conversation.

February 23, 2011 | Category: Hello Made Easy, Networking Tools, Personal Brand Building — Tony Altham
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