Business networking is an extremely valuable business medium to generate leads and increase the opportunities of business. Nevertheless, a certain amount of finesse is required. Here are some smart tricks for proper networking business etiquette.
1. Network now, eat later – a business networking opportunity should be used to network and not to eat and drink. Get in and speak to key persons before the competition.
2. Table manners – if you are going to nibble, remember that you need to do so standing up and you will also need to drink, shake hands, take a business card and talk at the same time. Also, just because you are not at table, it does not mean that you can lax. Watch your posture as you stand, keep your mouth closed and a napkin always at hand.
3. Be wise with your choice of outfit – Dress code here will reflect either the position you hold or the position you wish to have one day as well as the company you represent.
4. Do not be a wall flower – Move around the room and engage with different individuals from different companies. Avoid getting stuck with the same group of people as this defeats the purpose of the event.
5. Be interesting and brief, look people in the eye and smile – Be sensitive to others’ body language to see if they are engaged or hoping to leave the conversation. The quicker you can make your point, the easier it is for them to ask you questions if you struck a nerve. Maintaining eye contact and smiling not only makes you appear confident, but it changes the entire emotional dynamic of a conversation in a positive way.
6. Be prepared – If you need to prepare your pitch, do so before the event and practice it until it becomes almost second nature to you. Your business pitch needs to leave an impact whilst simultaneously not sound rehearsed.
7. Business cards – One of the biggest faux pas is to go around distributing them. Business cards should be exchanged when two individuals have connected and agreed to exchange them.
8. Be courteous at any point – When someone is talking to you, never look at your watch without advising the other person beforehand. If you are in a hurry or wish to move on to engage with other persons in the room you may courteously excuse yourself and go the restroom, get a drink or close the conversation with an agreed way forward to follow up.
9. Follow up within two days – Don’t wait too long before following up and do let people know you enjoyed the conversation. Also, don’t just pitch them when you connect. Send them something of value, like a relevant link, so they know that you were thinking of something besides your own needs.
Remember that no matter who you are or what you are doing, your manners will have a direct impact on your professional and social success.
Distinguish yourself and your business.
First Class Etiquette provides customised training programmes, including Corporate Etiquette programmes, delivered under licence from The International Etiquette and Protocol Academy of London.