Perhaps now that it is October or that the academic year is in full swing, it seems there are ample opportunities for business to business networking. Networking is at the core of expanding your business. Recently, I have seen advertised chamber breakfasts, community leader breakfasts, chamber luncheons and after work events. All communities have a local chambers that offer great programs. Look into local hospitals seminars and professional organizations, as well.
Some business etiquette do’s and don’ts to survive this social event. Before you arrive, have a light snack so your first port of call is not the food or drink bar. Dress professionally for the occasion. Have your clothes neat and pressed. Sometimes, I think people forget what an iron is for. Are you shoes clean? Take plenty of clean business cards and create a system for giving your business card out and for taking new business cards from clients. It is always nice to go with a friend, but you should mingle through the event without them. Remember the goal is to meet new clients and generate business. Make self introductions by always stating your first and last name, slowly. Extend your hand for the handshake remembering to have web to web contact, no wet fish handshakes here. Smile and have good eye contact. Have good posture. Saying the person name back to them, with “its nice to meet you, Mr/Ms._____” is a great tip for locking together their face and name into your memory. Have your hands out of your pockets, you will look more approachable. I think it is always smart to come with your elevator speech plus some other topics to talk about. You don’t want to only talk about yourself. I recommend to read the daily newspaper or check out news websites for good conversation topics that are light and interesting. Know your audience. If you choose to eat, select simple not messy foods and avoid alcohol. Its about networking not the free food or drinks! Practice entering and exiting conversation throughout the evening, making the most of your time. Most events are no longer then 2 hours, so on the bright side, if networking is hard of you or you just don’t enjoy it, the end is always in site. Another tip is to volunteer, contact the event coordinator. Let networking give you the results you want and deserve for your business.