Commentary by Beverly Randolph
To be part of the 80 percent, incorporate my suggestions for the next three weeks into your networking efforts. To begin, lessen your fear and gain confidence first by researching and planning in preparation to an event.
Research. Get to know the venue and layout, who will be attending and speaking, what the dress code is, etc.
Plan your attire. For conversation starters, accessorize. Women can wear a pin, scarf or professional yet stylish shoes. For men, wear a professional yet stylish tie or pocket square.
Determine and write down goals. Is your goal to meet three new people or to better understand the purpose of the organization? For some, using a note card helps to have notes, such as names of people, photo of those you’d like to meet, their interests, a thought you had after reading one of your target’s recent blog posts, along with names of people you think your target contact would enjoy meeting.
Eat prior. It prevents you from overindulging and your stomach making its own introduction.
Invest in a business card case. It allows you to organize both your business cards and those you receive. Many professionals have more than one business card. For example, I have one from Marian University and one for my own business.
Think of conversation starters. To lessen nerves, review current sporting events and records or upcoming local events. A safe option is to ask “what brings you to this event?” Make the conversation about the person to whom you are speaking.
Finesse your elevator pitch. Master what makes you special, including metrics, in 20 seconds or less. Practice with a trusted friend or colleague or in your car on your way to work and during errands.
Update social media accounts. Ensure only positive items are highlighted, post up-to-date pictures and career news, etc. Always think to yourself “would my grandmother be proud of…?”
By doing advanced research and planning, you will gain the self-confidence needed to mingle with anyone at any occasion; you are on your way to being a part of the 80 percent!
Companies are looking for persons who can network effectively and adapt to a variety of social and business situations. Do you need a speaker on “Mastering Your Mingle-Ability: How to Improve Your Networking Skills!” For more information, email Beverly at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 317-430-5696, and/or visit www.beverlyrandolph.com.
Beverly Randolph, MA, is the Founder & Director of The Protocol School of Indianapolis and a certified Business Etiquette, Children’s Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant. Beverly lives in Carmel and is an Adjunct Instructor at Marian University teaching business-related courses.