Over the years I’ve attended a number of seminars on business networking, read books by experts, and done a lot of networking face to face and online. But then, I’m very gregarious and I love networking. Some people are neither naturally gregarious nor in love with networking. But it’s my belief that, for most or all people in home based business, some form of networking is essential, whether face to face, online, or a combination of both. And I don’t just mean for network marketers!
An excellent place to get ideas about networking effectively and to tune in to some discussions among some very seasoned and effective networkers, is The Networkers’ Network (what else?) – or TNN – over on Ryze (and for those who wonder, you can join Ryze for free and stay at that level indefinitely if you choose – I’ve just upgraded to Gold membership).
Currently there is a very interesting and informative conversation going on at TNN about how networking events, mixers etc, should be organised to help people get maximum value.
One way you can tell whether you are at a “networking event” is that (usually) most or all people are wearing name tags. Over on TNN this morning I posted the following thoughts on name tags.
At a business breakfast the other morning I was without a name tag – couldn’t put my hand on it when leaving home and thought this was one of those events where they gave you a stickon tag – wrong!
Noticed a couple of people with designer name tags and got the address of the local stationery company that does them (actually quite well designed, with a magnet to go inside the suit or shirt, so you don’t have to stick pins in). I’ll get one of those and in future I’ll be prepared – the stick on ones should sometimes be called “fall off” tags anyway.
I find that people who are wearing a name tag often don’t tell you their name. No doubt they assume you have read it on their badge. This can be problematic. For example, I was a member of Business Network International (BNI) for a while and they had a regulation name card holder of flimsy plastic and curiously inconvenient design. Trouble is, most people stuck their business card in it rather than making a proper display name tag, and for anyone who, like me, needs their reading glasses on to see smaller print, this meant I had to fish for my specs and then peer at the tag to find out the name of the person I was talking to. Not a good way to make a first impression! A name tag with the first name (at least) in large letters seems to me the way to go. The rest can be filled in with conversation.
Also, I’ve always felt that it’s not really welcoming to have the situation where the regular members have nice, substantial name tags and the visitors get stickon labels with their name in hasty handwriting,
A trick I learned from a couple of expert networkers is to put the name tag on the right, as this is the side to which the eyes of the person you are meeting are naturally drawn as you shake hands. Putting it on the right side is not intuitive for right handers and the process can feel a bit clumsy, but I believe it is more effective. Left handers can just do what comes natchrally.
My good friend Robyn Henderson is the queen of networkers and has lots of good ideas, books etc over on Networking to Win (and no, this is not an affiliate link ).