New York Etiquette Guide

Business Etiquette: Top Five Tips for Effective Networking

Posted on Tue, Aug 22, 2017

Powerful business etiquette tips for networking 












Many professionals view networking events as a necessary evil. Some are uncertain of their business etiquette skills in a setting that is neither entirely social nor exactly work-related. Others chafe at the time wasted in business peer or client interactions that aren't focused on making a sale or closing a deal. For every outgoing, people-oriented networker who thrives on maneuvering a professional greeting with finesse, there is another hard-working but introverted professional who has to force himself to schmooze with ten new people before beating a path to the exit. Still, in the high-pressure push to make every minute count, both the social butterfly and the wallflower are at risk of losing sight of the real purpose of these events: making connections. With five simple rules, any busy professional can sharpen their networking skills and make those events an effective investment of their time.

  1. Get to know your potential networking friend. It's tempting, when you meet a useful potential contact at a networking event, to jump right into your sales pitch – but that's exactly the wrong approach. It's called “networking” because you are trying to build a network of friends and acquaintances who might do you favors or offer you valuable recommendations and advice down the road. You don't accomplish that by acting like a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. Your time is valuable and you have a busy schedule, but if you want to build useful relationships, you need to slow things down. Give yourself a chance to get to know the people you meet.

  2. Focus on the speaker during your interaction. Building on the previous point, it's important to be in the moment with the person you're talking to. Keep your phone on silent and don't check your email or your text messages while you're having a conversation. Don't glance around the room, plotting the next three prospects to corner and talk to. Instead, listen to the person you're with right now. Ask them questions open-ended about themselves, and be sincerely interested in the answers. If you want to cultivate a relationship with this person, you need to connect with them – and find out what they need that you can offer.

  3. Be helpful and eager to assist.  Once you know what a potential contact wants, think about ways you can fulfill that need. That isn't a cue to present your resume – what they need might be the name of your friend with a needed specialty, or a link to an article you read last week addressing a problem they're currently facing, or the address of an authentic Indian restaurant in the area. You can make yourself memorable by being useful, and by standing out in a positive and professional way. Perhaps you have unique custom business cards, or can talk about your interesting volunteer experience.

  4. Set your goals in advance. Eventually, your conversation partners will want to know what you want from them. You wouldn't be at the networking event if you didn't need something, after all. Have a specific answer at the ready: you're looking for advice about expanding your business into a particular market, or you're looking to advance your career in a position that involves working with social media. Have a short “elevator pitch” at the ready, but hold it until you know they're interested.

  5. Remember details and mention it in your follow-up.  The back of a contact's business card is the perfect space to jot down reminders and notes about the person you just met – what common interest do you share, what book did they recommend? When you follow up with them (and you should!), use these notes to bring specific information relevant to their interests.

    For more information regarding group seminars and training, please contact Ms.Bloch at (212) 977-6804.

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