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Nine Advance Networking Skills for Seasoned Networkers

A seasoned networker knows the real meaning of networking --
being organized, efficient, effective, and, of course, work
the event to its fullest. Attending networking groups after
so many years can tire and drain anyoneís excitement.
Especially since these situations are not social events. It
is easy to have one foot in the event and the other some
place else. A major challenge for all networkers is to be
there with both feet.

What propels someone to advance networker? Is it the number
of events or the number of years they attend? No. Is it
the delicate balance and expertise on how they work the
event? Yes.

Here are nine techniques that raise networkers skill level:

1. Business cards. If you are networking for a new job or
career, there is nothing inappropriate about having a
business card with a tag line of what type of job or company
you are seeking.

Basic networkers learn that wearing an outfit with two
pockets is important for the business card shuffle. Advance
networkers think of those pockets as their in-box and an
out-boxes.

Aware networkers hand business card exchanges differently.
They don't ask for the card until they know something about
the personís functionality and there is a match. No match,
no card. When you receive someoneís card; receive it gently
with both hands, stop and read it. This shows respect.
Respect to who they are and what they do.

Present your card exactly the same way you receive a card.
Present with both hands and the cardís information facing
the receiver. Extend your card, with eye contact, and wait
for them to receive the card. To present and receive in
this manner, both hands need to be free.

Keep a pen handy, in the out-box pocket with your own cards,
for writing tidbits on the back. Doing so is also a
physical queue that is your pocket in case you forget. In-
box, left pocket, is for otherís cards. If you are left-
handed, the boxes are opposite.

Never apologize for your business card. At the last six
events I attended, there were at least four people that were
apologizing for either not having a business card, or for
some error on their card. When this occurs you have zapped
your personal power. It sends a signal that you aren't
ready to do business. Even quickie inkjet business cards
and better than an excuse.

If you don't have any business cards or ran out, I recommend
skipping events until you do. Don't say you don't have a
card, use this other technique: ask if you can call them
and schedule the time then. Advance networkers are ready to
schedule an appointment right then. Generally seasoned
networkers toss any business card if presented with an
excuse.

2. Brochures, samples or flyers. If you need to hold any
of these use an appropriate see-through sleeve or small see-
through carrier. For flyers use a clear sleeve with an in
and out business card holders on the front. This keeps
handouts clean and safe. People don't appreciate receiving
paper with bent edges or ragged rims. If you write
articles, bring your latest and appropriate copy for
handouts. One handout per event is appropriate.

3. Eye contact depends on the culture. I'm speaking here
for the American culture. Make eye contact, both eyes, when
presenting your business card or receiving theirs. Make eye
contact when shaking hands. And look at them, not their
hands. Honor the person by maintaining focused eye contact
on them.

Seasoned networkers know if you are right handed, the name
tag is placed on the right. This allows the name to appear
in visual perimeter when shaking hands. If the name tag is
on the left, others assume you are left handed and will
present their other hand accordingly.

During your 30 seconds, advanced networkers don't begin or
continue speaking as they stand or return to their seat.
They breathe from their stomach and slowly look around the
room before speaking to gain audience attention and allow
people to switch to listening mode.

4. It is not important to meet everyone in the room. Use
the time efficiently to meet only those that match your
intention. Seasoned networkers know when and how to break-
off the contact to keep moving. They do so smoothly.

If you know others in the room, seasoned networkers know how
to hand the other person off to the next person. "Jill, let
me introduce you to Sandy. Sandy, Jill. Please excuse me
while you two get to know each other." Another way to
politely move on is by saying, "Thank you, I've enjoyed
talking with you. I know we're both here to meet other
people. So, letís do so."

5. Come ready to sell (one of my pet peeves). People bring
an event flyer with a call to action to register at a
website or mail a check. You just lost the sale. Be ready,
accept cash, check or credit card payment. Generally
people don't carry more than $20 and prefer to use their
credit or debit cards. Give people an incentive for
registering at the event. Ask for a commitment. Flyers
that require a visit to a website or to mail a check almost
always get trashed. You can see them piled in the events
trash can.

If you're not ready to get orders, omit it. If you are an
author, bring your books and sell them. Autograph the
book. Ask if they want to purchase a copy for a client or
friend.

When people don't accept credit cards, it tells me they are
new and aren't ready to sell. It can also say that the
event will have little attendance. People hate to show up
at events with little attendance.

6. Let go of the multi-tasking ladies. Eat first and then
network. People generally don't want to interrupt someone
when they are eating. Use a purse that doesn't slide off
the should ever few minutes, itís distracting. You may want
not to take a purse or use it to hold the material in
plastic sleeves.

7. Introducing yourself, title vs. functionality. Which is
more important to the person you are talking to -- your
title or what functions you can help them with. Yep, the
latter. Instead of saying, "I'm a tax preparer" say, "I
help people save money on their taxes". Instead of saying,
"I'm a business coach" give a WIIFM. Hereís one of mine:
"One of my specialties is to help service professionals
create a short business plan in less than an hour that says
everything they need to stay focused for the coming year."

Be careful of your tone, pace, and breathing when you talk.
People don't naturally tune into what you are saying until
the third or fourth word. The example above, "One of my...
doesn't say anything important until "service
professionals". Name presentation is the same. I say,
Catherine Franz, slowly and then repeat my first name:
"Catherine with a C". Generally, when people are nervous,
they forget to breath before speaking. Then the information
erupts like a volcano. Most of it as inaudible.

8. Less than Ĺ % of 1% of unseasoned networkers follow-up.
That is a sad statistic, and loss of opportunity. Recently,
after five events and tagging 40 business cards, only four
followed up. I called four, said I wanted to place an
order, and still no response. When we met up again, they
apologized for being too busy. Oops, I went somewhere else.
Stop the excuses, no wants to hear them.

On another similar note, don't promise to follow-up and
don't. It shoots down your credibility. If you are one of
these, please note, when this occurs, people many times take
it personally.

Follow-up within 24 business hours. Your follow-up displays
your level of commitment to relationships. The way you
follow-up, e-mail or phone, measures how much you want a
relationship.

9. Prepare for the event. Bring any promised items. For
morning events, prepare the day before. Arrive early.
Early bird gets the worm. Freshen up, walk in relaxed,
breathing correctly, standing tall, and ready. Bring
samples, product specials of the month to sell. If its hand
cream, use it and pass it around the room. Author of a new
book, read a paragraph that gets them curious during your 30
seconds, and bring copies for people to purchase.


About the Author

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &
Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet
writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters
and articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com
blog: http://abundance.blogs.com

Catherine Franz