Hello, my name is....

Been networking lately? Of course you have. Almost everyone is doing it, whether to seek new business, find a new job, or for many other reasons. If we're going to do it, let's do it well. Some tips....

  • Arrive at the event early. It's a much tougher gig if you arrive when the room is already full and conversations are well underway.

  • Place your name tag on your right side. Most people greet by extending their right hands -- and that's the side where your name should be.

  • If you can get a list of attendees in advance, decide whom you want to meet before you even arrive. If not, walk the room, glance at name tags, and selectively introduce yourself.

  • Have a 60- to 90-second "elevator pitch" ready that explains who you are and what you do.

  • Be efficient. Don't spend too much time with any one person or group, even if that person is someone you absolutely, positively want to engage. Respect their time.

  • When handed a business card, show interest in that person and his/her card. Scan it quickly, but carefully. You may find some information that will trigger a good comment or question.

  • When introduced to someone, help yourself remember that person's name by repeating it out loud three times. No, not in a row. But something like this: "Denny? Hello, Denny. Pleased to meet you. Denny, it looks as though your company is in the logical security business...."

  • Be positive. Or, better put, don't be negative. It's okay to have a candid conversation, but keep the whining in check.

  • Ask questions. Listen. Ask questions. Don't ramble. Ask questions. Be brief.

  • Offer to help people. If you do, it may lead to a positive outcome for you later.

  • Make sure your discussions are win-win events for you and for those you encounter. If a person provides you with key information, gives you a contact to call, etc. find a way to return the favor.

  • Follow up with a brief email or note -- you'll stand a better chance of being remembered.

Author Joe Starin heads up Hit by a Brick, an independent copywriting resource.