National Business Etiquette Week: Networking

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I like to think about networking as an opportunity to make new friends. People want to do business with friends and people they know – people they trust.  When an opportunity presents itself to meet new people and “network”, even those who are most shy can be successful by asking a few open ended questions and listening.  So often we’re worried about what we are going to say next.  Instead, just listen… and continue to ask questions, you will find that more often than not, the conversation starts to flow and before you know it, you feel as though you are talking with a new friend.

The next time you head out for a networking opportunity, give yourself a goal of meeting ____ “new friends”.  After the event, take some time to figure out how you can help your new friend make another connection.  It takes the anxiety out of the situation and replaces it with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.  Then watch as your network grows…you might even begin to look forward to networking opportunities.

When you find yourself standing, with no table to place your plate or beverage; hold everything in your left hand, leaving your right hand free to shake hands and exchange business cards.

Looking for someone to talk to?  Take a minute to notice how people are grouped, they will naturally form either an “O” or a “U”.  If the group forms an “O”, mosey along, there is no space for you right now.  If the group is congregated in the “U” shape, step right up and join the conversation.

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