4 tips to make networking less scary
In an open network, you're constantly exposed to new ideas so people in an open network are significantly more successful than their counterparts in a closed one. Since it's well-established that networking is unavoidable for anyone trying to get somewhere in the world, work towards making the whole networking experience less daunting. Follow these five steps so that you don't have to step into the game looking like a disconcerted fool.
Introductions are in order
If you're at a networking event or meeting someone for the first time at an appointment, try to do some research into how to pronounce their name right. When in doubt, ask. Most people find it rude having their names pronounced incorrectly so get it right the second time if you didn't at first.
If you're introducing two people to one another, introduce the person of lesser status to the person of higher status, (depending on whether status is based on rank or age). What you might consider inconsequential and of no importance, might be a matter of disrespect to one of the parties.
What's in a name?
Charles MacPherson, writer of The Pocket Butler: A Compact Guide to Modern Manners, says that you should always wear your name tag on the right side of your body. Although it goes against conventional wisdom which says put your name tag on the left side, over your heart, it's your right side that naturally moves forward when you shake hands. This helps the other person see your name and thus, remember it better.
Meeting colleagues for the first time? Extend that right hand. Smile warmly, have a firm grip (not an intimidating one), and maintain eye contact throughout. And remember: the best handshakes connect palm to palm. While you can go ahead and offer your hand first when you're meeting a business contact or congratulating someone, do not do so if the person is of a higher rank.
The big terrifying day has come to an end and you haven't embarrassed yourself too terribly. But you're not done just yet. You should've exchanged business cards by now so keep your promise of staying in touch. After making a new contact, be sure to follow up with an email. You should keep it short, sweet and devoid of grammatical mistakes. While giving a call is fine if you want to communicate something urgent (or you've build that kind of rapport), avoid texts with professional contacts.
Or want to really make a lasting impression? Send a handwritten note. Who doesn't love a personal touch?