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Networking Dos and Don’ts

April 14, 2014
From Loan Officer Lou King

From Loan Officer Lou King

It’s probably fair to say that most people don’t love networking. It can be intimidating to go into a room of strangers and try to strike up conversation. However, it’s a valuable skill that every professional must use at some point. Sharpen this skill with these tips so you can network with confidence at your next conference or gathering.

  1. Have a plan. Networking should be strategic. Set goals for each event you are attending. It might be making a specific connection to someone you’ve heard is attending. Or introducing yourself to three new people in complementary industries.  If you are going to spend time there, be smart about getting something concrete from it. It will also make it more likely that you’ll continue to invest time in future networking.
  2. Arrive early. In the case of networking, “fashionably late” means you also come into conversations after others have paired off. That’s a hard thing to do. By arriving when just a few others are there, it’s easier to mingle and meet people. As the attendees in the room grow, you’ll already be paired up with someone, which is more comfortable. Plus, as that person talks with their contacts and colleagues, you’re right there for a quick introduction.
  3. Treat business cards with care.  First of all, be sure you have some! It’s a wasted opportunity to invest time to network if you don’t have anything to leave with your new contacts.Be sensitive about how you offer your card and how you accept the cards of others. If you push your card into someone’s hands that you just met too quickly, it doesn’t seem like an authentic extension of the conversation.  At the same time, when they offer you their business card, don’t tuck it away immediately; that can seem dismissive. Hold onto it until you finish the conversation and walk away.

 

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