We often focus on advanced networking strategies so much that we must not forget about basic networking conventions that are foundational to being a courteous networker and making the best first impression.
Here are The 4 Networking Basics you could be getting wrong.
#1 Placement of Name Tag
Though it feels natural to place our name tag on your left lapel, it belongs on the right side. Here’s why. When someone shakes our hand, it’s second nature for them to look up our right arm for a name tag to confirm our name. Placing it where they’ll naturally find it helps avoid awkward moments in case they’ve forgotten our name and especially helpful if they want to introduce us to someone else.
#2 Self Re-Introductions
No one expects us to remember everyone’s name so let’s cut ourselves some slack. We’re only human, after all. The next time someone’s name slips your mind, you could say something like: “Hi, we’ve met before. My name is Robert. I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name.” Having their name helps you properly introduce them to others. In my opinion, it helps to re-introduce ourselves even if we remembered their name, just in case they don’t know ours.
#3 Business Card Etiquette
We want to avoid the “drive-by networking” behavior of handing out as many business cards as possible. We know that’s not what networking is about. There’s rarely a reason to offer someone our business card unless they’ve asked for it or the next step is for them to follow up with you. If we want to follow up with them, we will ask them for their card. Perhaps they’ll ask for ours in return.
#4 Eye Contact
When in a conversation, there’s nothing more belittling than looking around the room for someone else to talk with. This screams “You’re not important to me.” When we agree to be in conversation with someone, holding eye contact is the greatest way to show respect and build a connection, as uncomfortable as it may feel. Try holding eye contact through an entire conversation. We need to politely end the conversation and move on if we’re not interested in the one we’re having.
While these ideas may seem elementary, they sure make networking more comfortable for everyone involved and allow you to make the best first impression.
Read more networking tips, from advanced to basic, in my e-book, Strategic Networking For Success.
Which networking basic, listed above or your own, do you wish more professionals would remember?
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