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Networking: what you're doing wrong



Last night, I went to a Women Executive Leadership (WEL) power networking program. To be honest, I usually feel like I'm too busy to go to evening networking events -- in my juggle for work life balance, that's something that usually falls by the wayside.

But this program turned out to be well worth my time. Colin D'Arcy, president of Imagementor had some great tips for networking efficiently and using the right etiquette. D'Arcy consults business and individuals on conveying the right image. I found mistakes I had been making and a few things I could improve upon. Let me know if any of these tips help you and if you have any you would like to share. 

Random tips for power networking and using good etiquette....

*Your name tag should be worn on your upper right shoulder.

*Always keep your right hand free for introductions and handshaking. That means hold your beverage and/or   plate in your left hand.

*Remove beverage stirrers at the bar.

*Introduce yourself to someone right away, smaller groups are easier to break into.

*Ask yourself, who you would take out to dinner and why....then be like that person when you go to a networking event.

*Avoid talking about money or being laid off.

*Avoid putting these things on your plate -- shrimp with tails, olives with pits, flaky pastries.

* If they’re wearing a nametag, say “Hi … . What do you do?” Ask interesting questions such as "What's the biggest challenge you encountered today?

*Pay attention to other people's questions to pick up on information.

*The best question is : Who is your ideal customer and how can I help you?

*When someone is frequently looking over your shoulder or using the word "anyway" it is time to exit gracefully.

*If you are talking to someone, make eye contact.

*Don't overlook conversation with the spouse of a top executive. They often become a great contact.

*After you meet someone, have a follow up plan. You might even ask, "How and when would you like me to follow up?"

You can count networking a success when you've connected people, helped your contacts, or sent your contacts business, D'Arcy says.

Readers, do you make time to network or are you too busy? Have you ever made a GREAT contact at a networking event?