Networking at a conference
Don’t just cling to A-listers – There are more B, C, D, E & Z listers at any given event than A-listers. They may not have the huge reach someone well-known might have, but you have a better chance of building relationships and spending time getting to know someone who may not be so busy. Also, today’s C-lister may be tomorrow’s A-lister. Finally, I’ve been very disappointed by some of the attitudes of people on the A-list. Just because someone is successful, doesn’t mean he’s someone you want to emulate or associate with.
Don’t sell – Networking isn’t selling, though if you’re a good networker you can land sales. Sales pitches turn people off, and no one wants to be cornered in an elevator. Just talk. Eventually what you do will come into it and if the other party is interested she’ll ask to learn more. Being pushy is a turnoff, not a selling point.
Don’t brag – If the conversation is all about you and your achievements, you’ll soon find yourself alone. Networking is more about listening than talking.
Find common ground – We all have something in common whether it’s a job, hobby or kids. When we find people with whom we share an interest, we share a kinship of sorts and that leads to trust.
Don’t start off with “who are you with?“- Every time I attend a conference in NYC, the “Who are you with?” crowd comes out. It’s their opening introductory line. They don’t say, “Hi, my name is so and so, tell me about you…” They say, “who are you with?” as if where I work is more important than who I am or what I do. If I’m not with someone you deem important will you walk away? I don’t get this opening line at all.
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