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Networking in Reality

January 6, 2011

Online Social Networking is my thing but bottom line ‘face-to-face’ interaction is necessary once and a while.  Being new to Atlanta I try to go to as many networking events as possible and I found out about Networking In Atlanta last month.  So I gave it a try last night.

Networking In Atlanta

It was a great event.  They are held the first Wednesday of every month at The Opera Night Club in Mid Town.  It is a great space for the event and there were a lot of people there.  I was even told that this was a smaller crowd than usual.  I’m attributing that to the post holiday rush and bad weather.  The event is not industry specific so it is a great way to expand you network and connect with a whole new group of people.  For more info on Networking in Atlanta check out their web page.

The crux of this post is not about the event specifically but rather what people need to know/do when networking.   I am always surprised at networking events when people are not ready with the following.

1.  Have a business card!  There is no excuse for not having a hearty supply of business cards when attending a networking event.  If you are starting a company or looking for a job there are tons of affordable or even free options for getting business cards.  If you are looking for a job, don’t thinking of it as a business card, think of it as a “networking card.”  Never leave the house without them.  Check out Vista Print. They have lots of designs, some free options and always run deals.  No excuses  people!

Business Cards

Why do you need a card?  How else will people follow up with you?  The day after a networking even I send an e-mail to every person that I talked with and friend request them on Linked In.  Without that card there is no way to follow up and the whole point of meeting that person is totally dissolved.  No business card = waste of time.

2.  Have your elevator pitch ready.  You should always be ready to describe yourself and what you do with perfect articulation in under 20 seconds.  At a networking event you should be spewing your elevator pitch hundreds of time.  It should just be part of your introduction.  You need to practice it so that it is natural and comfortable for you.  When it becomes part of who you are it will be genuine and believable to the person you are speaking to.  Have confidence in yourself and your business.

3.  My personal pet peeve at networking events is when they don’t have a tweet screen and an event # tag.  I think it is a great way to merge digital networking with the real world.  It is an easy way to follow and stay in touch with those you have met and it spreads the word about the networking event so more people will attend next time.  If you go to an event that does have a tweet screen here are a few guide lines.

  • Make sure you always tweet with the # tag
  • Tweet when you get there so you show up on the screen
  • If you’ve had a particularly engaging conversation with someone send them a tweet when it is over.  Great way to follow up before you’ve even left the event.
  • Tweet what a nice time you’ve had before you leave.

4.  If there is food there, have a snack, but it is not dinner.  You didn’t come there to eat you came there to talk to people and that is hard to do when you are stuffing your face.  I know most networking events happen right around dinner and you are starving.  Try to eat a power bar or a piece of fruit in the car on the way there so you can make it through without stuffing your face.  If you do eat, pop a breath mint when you are done.  Nothing is worse than a loud networking even when you have to lean in to hear someone and you get a whiff of beer and garlic on their breath.

Does anyone else have any good networking tips?  I’d love to hear them!



One Comment leave one →
  1. Terry Mattison permalink
    January 8, 2011 8:08 am

    Great Networking tips….

    One additional tip….. often you will receive a name tag at the door. A best practice is to make sure your name is clearly visible. Placement is important. Right lapel is the optimal place. Why? When you extend your right hand to shake another individuals hand the eye naturally follows up the arm to the right shoulder. By placing the name tag on your right lapel you have a good chance the individual will remember your name.

    Terry Mattison

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