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.