Think of people who have helped your career. For example, someone who wrote a reference for you to get a job or a client. Was there someone who suggested you go for a promotion? Did you write a thank you note? Do they know you got the promotion? Was there someone who write a reference for you to get into grad school?
Sample #1 - Someone who gave you a job reference
I was thinking of you the other day when I was at work. I remember how wonderful you were to take the time to write a letter of reference which helped me get the job.
Please let me know if I can be a resource for you at any time.
Best ~ (your name), (your cell #)
Sample #2 - Someone who introduced you to a new customer/client
I was thinking of you the other day when I was meeting with ___________. I remember how wonderful you were to take the time to introduce us.
Please let me know if I can be a resource for you at any time.
Voila! You're done! More next Friday! And yes, it will be Friday, the 13th
You're investment for this project is:
Notecards - probably in your drawer
Stamps - either in your drawer or 44 cents x 4 = a whopping $1.76
5 minutes each Friday
I look forward to hearing your results ... and yes, you can send me an email instead of a handwritten note. Just send it to: Diane at EffectiveNetworking dot com or you can send me a Tweet @DianeDarling.
I'm jazzed to attend an upcoming conference and found it intriguing that attendees have been asked ahead of time to abstain from "aggressive networking."
As someone who writes and teaches networking skills, it got me thinking. Well certainly something must have come up in order for the organizers to feel they needed to explicitly state this.
As Thomas Paine said, "The funny thing about common sense is that it's not that common."
So here are my thoughts on what is aggressive networking and some appropriate solutions:
Premature business card exchange. It unnerves me when someone asks for my card before we've even had a conversation. I politely give it but cautiously what is going to happen next. Yes at a conference there are networking opportunities. However, your first priority should be to learn and to share knowledge. When you have an authentic conversation (more on that next), ask yourself if there is something further you would like to share. Ideally it's more than an attachment or brochure about your company. After that interaction has happened, then it is time to exchange business cards.
Not having authentic conversations. Small talk is appropriate and polite. It often leads into authentic conversations where you find out what you have in common. Don't rush! Networking is NOT sales. Leave that conversation to a later venue.
Monopolizing conversations. Most people are thrilled when they meet someone who interests them. It is tempting to hang out with them. However if it's awkward for the other person to leave the conversation, perhaps you are too intense. Watch your body language. Don't stand square at someone and box them in. Be sure others walking by can join the conversation and your body languages indicates that. After 5-8 minutes, consider moving on and talking with others.
Talking too long about yourself or business. Indeed people you know will ask for an update and people you meet will ask what you do. Have a brief response (2-3 sentences and no more than 60 seconds). Keep your conversations focused on the event. Ask what speakers they have found interesting? And be sure to ask about them.
Disrespecting private time. The restroom is a place to .... rest and well where you find some relief! This is not the time to start a conversation. Especially if they are walking in. The same is true if someone is on the phone. (If you need to make a call during a conference, please leave the room!)
Not following up. I find it aggressive (and candidly unprofessional) if someone says they're going to follow up on our conversation and they don't. Or worse, if they follow up and only talk about themselves. Set aside 90 minutes after the event. Because you've focused on quality interactions, not quantity, you can easily send an email (or even snail mail) each person you met.
What are your thoughts about "aggressive networking" and how to deal with it?
Hard to believe what's happened this past week ..... and in the middle of it all was a VERY adorable 3-year-old who had just had enough. What's great about kids is that they are totally authentic. Every so often I wish I could just cover my ears!
In case you missed the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, here's a link to Buckingham Palace.
Thoughts on how to gracefully (yes her name is Grace) find some quiet when you need it:
If you're an introvert and just don't like events, limit the number you attend. I'm a VERY friendly person but I get overwhelmed quickly in large crowds and when I don't know people. I am absolutely capable of talking to people I don't know but after awhile, enough is enough. I just want to network with my remote control. So I suggest you avoid taking on too much.
If you have to attend for example, you're the flower girl ..... find a buddy to help you. Maybe even the maid of honor. Be willing to let others know you need them.
Invite someone to join you at the food table or the bar. Often others are there, you can introduce yourself, bring the other person into the conversation.
Exchange business cards and suggest you speak further at a later time. Often when there are fewer distractions, you can be more focused and enjoy the conversation.
If you have a role at the event (e.g. flower girl), it's easier to get out of conversations since you need to be available for photos or meeting others.
If you don't have a role, arrive with some conversation starters. Comment about the event or how you know the person or organization hosting it.
While big events like this don't happen every day, they can zap our energy. There are many other ways to network besides attending them so find your own style!
Cheers ~ Diane
p.s. I happened to live in London as a nanny when Diana and Charles were married. It was amazing to watch the carriages go by. Hard to believe it will be 30 years ago this summer!
Over the holidays Disney on Ice was playing there. It was an interesting insight to brand marketing. My first thought when I saw lots of dotting dads with daughters in tutus in hand was ... who are these adorable people?
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big sports fan ... but what a difference in the neighborhood.
Instead of horns blaring and people screaming out their windows late at night, you had people wave each other in traffic and let pedestrians cross without a flash of a finger.