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Building a Network

You’ve left stacks of work behind to attend a national convention. But taking notes from dawn to dusk isn’t enough to make it worth your while. Put down that pencil and start shaking hands, talking to people around you and networking.

 

What is Networking?

 

Networking is a reciprocal process in which you share ideas, leads, information, advice, brainstorming, laughter . . . and sometimes tickets to a ball game.

 

The best networkers have savvy, common sense. It’s not a work style, it’s a lifestyle. Some of the best networkers don’t even know they’re networking. They’re just out there sharing ideas, sharing themselves.

 

Who are the Power People?

 

The most powerful people aren’t necessarily those with the biggest titles but rather those with the biggest Rolodextm files. Our power comes when we can pick up the phone and make things happen for people.

 

It’s important to plan ahead by practicing a nine-second self-introduction and reading newspapers and trade journals. When you discover that you have something in common with another person, it becomes a totally different conversation and connection.

 

Decide, “What am I going there for?” Plan your route. For ninety percent of conferences, you can buy the tapes and sit by yourself and listen. What’s the point of attending? To meet and connect with other like-minded people.

 

Even if you’re satisfied with your current position, nobody’s job is etched in stone. Having a network can be your safety net.

 

If you want to join a group’s conversation, stand on the periphery. When someone nods your way, move in and introduce yourself. But, don’t change the conversation to suit your agenda.

 

Make contacts, make friends. Go to have a good time!

 

More Timely Tips:

 

Do:

Initiate conversation with attendees on the event venue (location, food, entertainment), sponsor, workshops, trade booths, seminars or speakers.

 

Treat spouses with grace, interest and respect (yours and theirs).

 

Have a meeting plan, whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee.

 

Don’t:

Overindulge in liquor at meals, hospitality suites or after hours.

 

Presume the hospitality party is purely a social event.

 

Forget to follow up and follow through.

 

And you will connect, converse and create a network of colleagues, clients, co-workers and friends!

 

Susan RoAne is a keynote speaker and best-selling author who has “worked” trade shows, conventions, planes and pools, and has taught thousands of people to do the same. Her latest book, the updated and fully-revised best-seller, How To Work A Room, as well as The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next?, are available in local and on-line bookstores. Each book is also available as an audio book.

 

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