We’ve created an eBook to help make sure that professionals know “what to do” during different networking situations. You’ll find advice on how to prepare for an event, what to do during the event and what to do after.
For three years I had the privilege of working with Tena Mayberry, former owner of Century II. She was one of the best business leaders that I ever worked with and taught me quite a lot. She impressed me so much that when I had to write a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) on a business leader, I selected her. I sent her a note afterward to share that with her, and her response was hysterical. Tena called me on my mobile and laughingly asked, “Why are you telling people my weaknesses?”
To Tena, a professional has three duties. The first is to do their very best for their employer, not just to do their job, but to lead. Second, be part of one or two business groups. When she says be part of, she means to take a leadership role, not just cut a check for membership. Lastly, and to her the most important, be part of one or two non-profit groups. Her view was that a professional has an obligation to help others in a leadership role.
I knew this but had never heard anyone lay the role out so clearly. A professional that only does their job is limited and one dimensional. If they only do their job in a business group, then they are selfish. Only when the professional understands that they must give back, contribute to their professional field, and achieve in the role are they truly a professional.
To continue with this thought, here are two reasons to network.
The first reason is to project influence, and the best way to project influence is to be present. Your role at these events could be to represent your company, yourself or your brand. It is not to pass out business cards and try to sell everyone in the room. As a rule, business will happen here because people see into your heart and know who you are.
A few examples of events/groups:
Business events – chamber event, banquets, lunch-and-learns, etc.
Civic group events – Rotaries, Kiwanis, Jaycees and many more.
Non-profit events – American Heart Association, Second Harvest, Alzheimer’s Association and many more.
The second reason is to grow your professional network and increase your business opportunities. Again, your role at these events could be to represent your company, yourself or your brand. It is still not to pass out business cards and try to sell everyone in the room, but it is understood that the purpose of the meeting is business growth.
This second reason is the purpose of our eBook, What To Do. When you are networking to grow your professional reach, remember there are three goals to every event that you attend:
1. Meet someone new
2. Hold a relevant conversation
3. Earn a follow-up meeting
While attending any networking event, you should have a plan of action in order to be successful. It is always a good idea to use the rule of “Be.”
· Be there
· Be prepared
· Be focused
· Be ready to work
To help to know “What to Do,” (insert, French frog rabbits and laugh) I’ve prepared three checklists for you.
1. Preparing for the event
2. Things to do during the event
3. How best to follow-up, post-event
There is no way this could be a comprehensive list, and I would love your input. Let me know what other tips that should be included, and we’ll all benefit.