“ADD YOUR PHOTO TO YOUR BUSINESS CARDS & OTHER MARKETING MATERIALS”
If this means getting NEW business cards because your current business cards don’t have your photo on them, yes, by all means consider doing so. We all know this is true … Count how many business cards you took home without pictures on them. Can you describe what each person looked life? You can’t. Be different and have your photo on your business card or other marketing material to stand out above all others. Be sure your photo is on everything you distribute at networking events. If are unable to do this, then email information with a photo of yourself, ideally a headshot of yourself. With your photo, they’ll remember that you were the one helping others to acclimate and the conversation you both had. Oh, and that really great outfit or suit/shirt you bought for the event really enhanced your photo. That was a great investment.
“BRING CASH NOT JUST A CREDIT CARD“
You never know when you’ll see something you want to buy (like a book or other product) or something to eat or drink. About $20-40 should do it. Some events you attend might not offer any (complimentary) food or drink you like. If you get hungry or thirsty, the bar might only take cash. For some, it’s hard to network when you’re hungry or thirsty. You might also want to treat someone to a drink or lunch/dinner that you’re interested in networking with.
Another reason for cash is PARKING! Some parking structures only take cash. It’s rare, but do keep it in mind. One more reason to bring cash is for tipping. Valet drivers, bartenders, servers, anyone who gives you a helping hand has earned a tip. Keep cash on hand for them. There are some places that only take cash and unless you know it, be prepared.
Some people aren’t big on carrying cash, as credit cards show an easy record for all transactions for tax purposes. Keeping receipts for cash (even asking for them) can be a chore to manage. Nonetheless, take out $100 cash and make it last for six months. Hopefully, you won’t go out networking every night of the week. But, you get the idea. Keep the cash in an envelope and take it with you. When you need cash, you’ve got it. Otherwise, return it to your desk to be used again when you head to your next networking event. Treat it like your own little networking piggy bank. Withdraw as needed.
“REHEARSE WHAT YOU WILL SAY“
Don’t show up tongue tied! This is a networking event! Have a few lines rehearsed and ready to share. Here are 5 key questions you’ll ask everyone you meet. Need more ideas? Check out Bart’s book, MY NETWORKING TACTICS for dozens of conversation starters and some for “exiting” a conversation when you know you want out of a conversation.
The best thing you can ever do in a conversation is to ask questions! Continue asking, even turning the conversation back around to the other person. As you keep the other person engaged, he/she keeps feeding you information about how you might be able to help them (or not). You certainly don’t need to keep hearing yourself tell your own story again and again from one person to the next. Instead, ask questions throughout the event, comment, ask another, comment and then when the other person’s dying to hear what you do, you can lay it on them in bite-sized, understandable nuggets, of course. Keep them wanting more. Never leave them fully satisfied so craft your responses in such a way to keep people interested, “Wow, that’s fascinating. I’m so glad we met. Can I get your card?” Then, you say. “I don’t have one, but if you give me yours I’ll text/email you my information today!”