As the weather cools networking more events will be scheduled because Networking is a necessity in the business world. They let you meet like-minded people and make important business connections. If worked properly, they can benefit you and your business.
From my past experiences attending and hosting many events, I feel qualified, in my humble opinion, to give some major don’ts at these events.
Don’t answer with a verbal commercial of your life and business when you are asked “what do you do?” Remember to engage in a conversation, not take over with a lecture.
Don’t ask for favors from people you just met. For example: “Could you introduce me to the President of your company?” Seems a little forward and besides, you are making the person you are speaking with feel used and insignificant.
Don’t look over a person’s shoulder while you are talking to them, scanning the room to see if anyone more interesting is around. That is very rude and unprofessional. Finish the conversation, exchange business cards, and then go on to the next person.
Don’t bring samples of your work and expect people to give you all their time at the event. They are there for the same reason you are. Make an appointment with them and build a relationship.
Don’t hit on people. This is not speed dating or people without partners. Make an appointment to meet at a later time.
Don’t forget to bring enough business cards. Going to a networking event without them just shows that you are not serious about your business, or that you are disorganized. By the way, bring your smile with you, as well.
Don’t just attend for the food and drink. This is not a “feed the hungry” event. And don’t overindulge! People remember even when you don’t.
Don’t dress like you were working on your car. You are representing your business and yourself. Dress appropriately.
Don’t interrupt two people who are speaking to each other. Wait your turn. Or say, “Excuse me,” then wait for a response. Remember what your mother told you about this?
Please feel free to add to this list or comment as you see fit.
Valuable & insightful guidance to all would-be networkers, Nancy!
I might add:
1. Refrain from hovering at the food stations and (if alcohol is provided) ESPECIALLY the bar;
2. Avoid shaking hands with or touching others after you’ve used that same hand to handle food or stuff it into your mouth;
3. Be aware of your immediate environment by not blocking/restricting isles/halls/’pinch-points’;
4. When receiving another’s business card, recognize its value about the person giving it to you. Avoid, indiscriminately, stuffing it into a pocket… that’s disrespectful;
5. Finally, THANK your host(s) for sponsoring/supporting the event!
Gil, Great additions to the list.