Based on frustrating business networking practices at events, I wanted to share a few little secrets of more giving business networking:
1. When you re-meet someone, give them your full name again by saying it aloud.
This is an especially helpful little business networking secret when:
- How you look has changed even slightly (heavier/thinner, more/less hair, different makeup or hair color, etc.) since you last met
- They might struggle to recognize/place you because you’re meeting in a different setting than you usually meet
- It’s been such a long time since your last meeting they may not remember your name right away
- You interact via social media and your avatar might not translate to in-person recognition
- There’s even a 10% change they’ve forgotten your name since you met initially (and BTW – Don’t bust them on not remembering you. Instead, react with a faux question, “I think we may have met before? Am I remembering that correctly?”)
2. Carry business cards.
I know business cards get dumped on by certain social media folks, but they ARE helpful for memorability – at least for some people. As a visual learner, I can look at a business card well after the fact and trigger a memory of meeting that specific person. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that. Create business cards, have them with you, and use them, i.e., give them to other people.
3. When you meet someone, attempt to carry on a simple, brief conversation.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated (“What do you think about the opportunities to leverage social media for customer acquisition in a B2B market?”), and it’s wonderful if it’s not inane (“Hey, what about that weather?”). Have a few targeted, relevant QUESTIONS ready to go, and ask them! Doing this will give the person you’re meeting an opportunity to share what THEY think.
4. Don’t look around the room as you’re trying to carry on a simple, brief conversation.
Give someone your full attention – really. Don’t just try to make it seem like they’re getting your full attention. I’m not sure there’s anything more off-putting than when someone you’re meeting is constantly scanning the room to see if there’s someone better than you at the event they could be hunting down.
Smiling really helps to compensate if you can’t remember to do numbers 1 through 4.
By now, you must have realized this post title is a lie. These aren’t really little SECRETS about more giving business networking. But they might as well be little secrets based on how few times people genuinely seem to follow them when networking. Get started putting these “secrets” into practice and you’ll definitely stand out from almost all the rest of the crowd. – Mike Brown
If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!