I enjoy meeting new people, so I’ve learned a lot in my career about how to work a room and make connections and build relationships. Although I consider myself good at networking, as with any skill, I’m always looking to improve.
Here are nine of Eric’s networking secrets to use at your next professional meeting, industry workshop, or other event. Some of Eric’s ideas were familiar to me, others were new, but all are invaluable.
Put the Name Tag on Right
Right-handed people instinctively put a name tag on their left side. Big mistake. To make your name tag easy to see, put it on your right, something only 10% of us do.
Restate the name of the person you’re meeting. (Nice to meet you, Eric. I’m Mac). This helps you remember. Don’t worry about the repetition. As Dale Carnegie said, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” (Here are 10 other tips for remembering names).
Know What to Say and What You Want
Come with a few stories to share that have nothing to do with work. Talk about a new movie you like, your vacation plans, or a restaurant you want to try. But be selfish, too. Is there a connection you want to make, an introduction you’d like to arrange? Have your anecdotes and “asks” ready before you enter the room.
The really smart people at a networking event don’t talk and talk and talk, especially about themselves. They ask great questions. This puts others at ease. You’ll also hear great stories and get important insights.
The early bird catches the connections. Settle in, breath deep, and you’ll be better company and enjoy yourself more. Don’t be the person who arrives late.
Stand by the Food
It’s easy to strike up a brief, one-on-one conversation in the buffet line or at a snack table. It’s also a setting that gives you a few minutes with one person and the ability to move on if you wish.
After you leave an event take a moment to jot a few facts on the back of the cards of people you’ve met. Reference that information in a follow up note. Don’t rely on your memory.
Quality Beats Quantity
Don’t be that person who collects a stack of business cards as if they were rare baseball cards. Instead, talk to a few people with the goal of building real relationships.
The more important a person the more people they will meet at a networking event. If you want them to remember you find a way to make a personal connection so that you will stand out. “It’s not who you know,” says Eric, “it’s who knows you.”
Want to learn more of Eric Morgenstern’s networking secrets? Here’s a blog post with his complete list.