By Tina Smagala While social networking is hot, networking with people at meetings, conferences and events will never go out of style.
Thirteen years ago, I created a workshop, People Power, to teach sales and business professionals how to work a room and make profitable connections. Here are some tools that are still useful today:
Arrive: Rehearse your self-introduction. Don't sit down because it gives the impression that you aren't approachable; keep your business cards in your pocket; and wear your name tag just below your right shoulder.
Approach: Move toward people who are standing alone, talking to someone you know, or who are in the refreshments line.
Assert: Greet people with a smile and a firm handshake, and deliver your self-introduction with enthusiasm. In 25 words or less, your self-introduction should answer three questions: who are you, what do you do and how do you help? How you help is why people do business with you and it is where you add your "wow" factor that makes you distinguishable. Tailor your introduction to the audience by using relevant terminology.
Attend: Ask open-ended questions to engage the person in conversation such as, "What do you enjoy most about your work?" The more you learn about others, the more likely you can help them or someone they know.
Appreciate: End the conversation on a positive note by shaking hands, exchanging business cards and expressing your appreciation such as, "I appreciate your interest and I'll follow-up with an email to schedule a time for us to meet and discuss your situation further."
After the conversation, jot down a few notes about the person on the back of her business card to help you remember the key points of your profitable connection.
Tina Smagala is a leadership development consultant and regional director for RV Rhodes LLC. She can be reached at email@example.com or (585) 721-6538.
This column is written by members of the Rochester Women's Network (www.rwn.org).