If your calendar is anything like mine with the end of the year approaching, your days are starting to fill-up with festive parties and the final networking functions for 2013. For some, networking is a natural extension of their day at the office. For others, it conjures up images uncertainty and a lot of worry.
When should you arrive? What should you wear? How can you stand out in a crowd full of uber-professional, savvy businesswomen.
Savvy networking know-how can be achieved by anybody (students, entry-level, or highly-experienced) if they approach the networking event with the right mindset.
Over the next two posts, I’ll be sharing with you my favourite tips for networking to help you get through all of those end-of-year parties, and to start 2014 off with a bang.
1. A quality business card case adds that extra touch
For those who have been following the Executive Impressions blog or newsletter for a while, you would already know that I ALWAYS use a business card case.
Why? A quality business card case adds that extra touch that can shift your image from just being seen to being noticed and remembered.
- It keeps your cards clean and free from bends and creases.
- When the other person sees you remove your business card from a proper case, they’ll know that you are somebody who cares about the smaller details.
- When they see you put their card in your business card case, it signals that you hold them in high regard.
It’s probably the most underutilised networking tool in western countries, but will absolutely make you stand out from the crowd.
2. Let the other person hear their name
Hearing our name, has an immense impact on how we feel. It makes us feel important because the other person remembers who we are.
If said in a positive tone, it can trigger pure joy inside of us. If said in a negative tone, it can draw back memories of being told off in the high-school classroom.
“How do you remember the other person’s name at a networking event?” is a question that I’m regularly asked. So, I want to break it down for you into a simple three-step process:
- When the other person introduces himself or herself, actively listen for their name.
- Repeat their name after they’ve said it to help cement it in your mind.
- Use their name during conversation but in a natural way.
As Dale Carnegie said: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.
3. Make your outfit speak for you
When you walk into a room, it’s your outfit and your body language that others will notice first. From these two cues, they will make judgements and opinions about you.
What do you want them to think? That you’re meek and insecure, or that you’re poised and powerful!
In the office, traditional dark suits and white shirts are fine, but if you want to be noticed at a networking event, it’s high-contrast colours and bold styles that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Ladies, you may want to add impact to a simple black dress with a contrasting red or white jacket. And don’t forget about your shoes. A pair of striking heels can instantly change your attitude and confidence.
Gentlemen, you can enhance a simple white shirt with high-contrast cufflinks in navy or black. Or, choose a white shirt that already has contrasting buttons or colour detail in it.
I have more tips about high-contrast clothing and some insights into the psychology of colours in a previous article: “The Secret of Colour for a Powerful, Professional Image“.
I’d love for you to leave a comment in the section below. Has your career or business been helped by somebody you met at a networking event?
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