The most recent open networking event I attended became my last. I quickly realized that truly effective networking does not happen in a room full of people who come together to eat appetizers, mingle, and share business cards. I’ll remember that evening forever as the encounters became uncomfortable. It seemed to me that most professionals there were only interested in handing me their business card, hoping I would hire them or send opportunity their way. When they asked what I do and decided there wasn’t a match, their eyes began to dart around the room for their next victim.
After that uncomfortable experience, I made the personal commitment to only offer my card if someone asked for it. I also make the commitment to always take a person interest in everyone I meet, instead of trying to get my point across. This personal commitment means doing the following things:
1. Remain quiet while the other person speaks
2. Use my entire face to smile at them
3. Look the other person directly in the eyes
4. Think of questions to ask them to invite them to share more
5. Ask for their card and takes notes on the reverse side so I will remember them
6. Connect with them on Linkedin and fill in the HOW I MET THEM section
I have found that the more I make it more about them and less about me, the more likely I am to create lasting relationships based on sincerity and true engagement. Those I have connected with have actually come back to tell me (and more importantly, others) how important they feel in my presence. This has lead to wonderful opportunities that eventually came back to me in amazing ways. Author John C. Maxwell once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
HARTFORD SPRINGFIELD SPEAKER'S NETWORK and an award winning professional speaker who has been speaking since 1995. He has been on stages across the U.S. for everything from brief lectures to keynote speeches to multi-day training events, and was the featured speaker at a conference in The Netherlands this Fall. He is a regular contributor to network television affiliates and provides one-on-one speaker coaching for business professionals. Learn more about him and his top-selling Amazon books.