By Sandy Hershelman
The workday is over. You're tired. You don't
want to go out to the mixer. It's dark and raining. The soft
couch and TV are calling your name. We've all been there. Sometimes
it's hard to remember that effective networking is key to business
I'm often asked if joining trade associations and chambers of
commerce will bring more business to a firm. It most definitely can
and usually does—if
you regularly participate in group activities.
People do business with people they like—and people refer people
they like. To be remembered, one must be consistently visible. Even
if I don't need a landscaper myself, you can bet I'll remember that
nice couple sitting next to me at the last dinner meeting.
Networking is not about selling, it's about being known and
liked. It's all about strengthening ties with your business
associates. It's also a numbers game. If the average person (who
likes you) knows 250 people, who each knows 250 people, who each
. .well, you get the drift. The possibility of your name coming up
at a later date increases with the number of positive contacts you
Socializing is an important business tool. Seventy percent of all
jobs are found by networking.
tips for the next time you're out schmoozing:
- Have a 30-second commercial
prepared in advance. Throw an initial zinger in there to incite
more questions. "I build people's
dreams" will no doubt spark more conversation. "I'm
a builder" makes you sound exactly the same as a third
of the other guys in the room.
- Do dress appropriately. Even if you live in a really laid-back
town like I do. . .you're a professional, look like one.
- Work that room. Don't just stand in a corner with your buddies!
with new faces. If you hang out with your friends, you won't
make new acquaintances.
- Smile. And then smile some more.
- Do you have a firm handshake?
To this day I remember the wimpy handshake of my childhood minister's
at 8, I realized
really didn't want to be there.
- Don't be a loner.
If you are shy, hang out around a social butterfly. Ms. Butterfly's
By standing with her, your visibility increases,
- Don't try to close a deal at a mixer.
- Pass out your business card
only if it's appropriate. When you ask someone for a card, ask
one to keep and
one to pass on. Use the back of the card to
write down something about
you may need to remember.
- Don't eat and/or drink
too much (especially the latter).
- Don't judge a person too quickly.
Treat everyone with respect. If you do get stuck with
a creep, be
polite, but move
- You don't have to be the Queen of Schmooze
to be an effective conversationalist.
questions, and don't dominate the conversation.
the day's newspapers to see what's been happening. And, for
political and religious conversations
at a business mixer. Raised
not make the
type of "memorable moments" you're there
to create. (And no one enjoys breaking
- Don't forget to follow
up on every contact that you make!