So... what is networking about?
- Meeting people who can be of help to you
- Collecting and updating contact info, like phone numbers and e-mail addresses
- Keeping in regular contact with those in your network
- Thanking people for their help
- Helping others when asked
- Business cards - print your own or order on-line. Keep funny images and jokes off them
- Sort out who you are and what you do - sometimes called your elevator pitch. Work on one or two sentences and vary this depending on who you meet and what you think they might be interested in.
“Hi I’m xxxxxx, I run my own consultancy - xxxxxx - where we are working for inclusion and engagement in science and technology” or “We run a variety of studies, projects and activities that aim to engage more young people, especially girls and minority ethnic groups in science and technology”. Or “We specialise in equality and diversity in science and technology”.
- Start from the premise that you may be shy but that person over there is even shyer.
- Make the first move. Practise saying “Hi what brings you here today” or “Hi I’m XXXXX from XXXXX, you’re from...” “ - they will look at your badge and introduce themselves. “What brings you here”
- Did you have a good journey?
- Is business doing well at the moment?
- Start with general small talk and open questions.
- Don’t just hand out your business card unless you feel you have connected or have something in common... and you want to follow up with them.
- Make sure you do follow up. Just say Hi and pass on a piece of information, by email is fine or on LinkedIN. You can even follow up a year or more later. Make sure you write on their card where you met and what sparked off your connection. Enter this on your contacts system.
Can be tricky. Here are my suggestions:
- “Excuse me I’ve just seen someone I’ve been trying to catch up with for ages.. will you be here later, let’s connect then.
- “Excuse me I must make a call before this session starts”
- “Can I get you a drink” / “Shall we join the food line?”
- Use body language and slightly face away from them so your line of sight broadens out to the room. This also allows someone else into the conversation and then you can slip away.