I had been asked to give a keynote presentation at an Inforum networking event. The energy was palpable as 200+ women (and a few men!) gathered for “Good Morning Inforum!”. With an impressive turnout, everyone was ready to network – to talk about networking, to learn more about networking, to practice networking, TO NETWORK! Yes, my topic: Networking!
One of the challenges going to an event (without a friend) is approaching and meeting new people. I created and shared a quick acronym with the group to lessen the maybe-I’ll-go-late-and-skip-the-networking-portion-of-the-meeting anxiety-inducing part of networking.
Well, It begins with a H.A.N.D.S.H.A.K.E.
H – Handshake: give a handshake that says “I am a strong, capable, and engaging person”
A – Approach: how you walk up to someone – your eye contact, posture, and smile!
N – Name: introduce yourself by name – one of the networking basics.
D – Define: define why you’ve approached, “I was hoping to meet you because….”
S – Say their name: repeating their name gives you an opportunity to remember it later! It’s a fact.
H – Ha-ha: be sure to insert your personality, have fun with it, and be engaging!!
A – Ask questions: don’t fill in the space with your “stuff”, ask questions about the them, which takes the pressure of you.
K – Konclude: Conclude with something like “it was great to meet you, let’s…”
E – Exit politely: Politely extract yourself – get a drink or introduce them to a new person! Don’t hang onto one person the entire time because it is more comfortable.
It was a great event – fun to connect with everyone, and a positive way to start the day. At your next event, be sure to get off on the right foot by extending your hand for a networking HANDSHAKE!
Do you have any Networking tricks? Please share if you do.