Don’t forget your Manners – How business etiquette can make or break the connection

 

"I love everything that's old, - old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine" Oliver Goldsmith

I just got off the phone with someone in an HR role that told me she makes hiring decisions based on your handshake. Admit it, we all do! We form impressions about people the second we meet them. Manners matter – so much more than you think!

You see, in the current business climate, networking is the most effective way of accessing and establishing meaningful connections.

Because there is no shortage of highly qualified and competent people out there, manners can make the difference between a successful and failed opportunity.

When seeking to be effective at networking, you should pay attention to common etiquette practices that can make or break the connection.

Introductory skills

Networking often involves meeting people that you’ve never met before. Always make sure you introduce unfamiliar people to each other when having a conversation. This helps break the ice and make all parties to the conversation more comfortable around each other. In addition, proper introductions make people feel valued and validated, regardless of their position.

In our training surveys, we have found than a staggering 87% of people have to include themselves in a conversation at a networking event. It is so rude to ignore someone standing there, so make sure you pause and include them before continuing your chat.

If you are being introduced to new people, always offer a firm and single handshake, followed by a smile and nod. A good handshake demonstrates confidence, politeness, and approachability.

Pleasantries are important

During and after a networking event, using appropriate pleasantries can go a long way. Always follow any requests with “please”, and you should also say “thank you” after such requests are fulfilled.

After the event, a thank you e-mail is very important, but a handwritten thank you card goes even further towards making you stand out from the rest. If you agreed to catch up, make sure you pick up the phone to arrange the meeting.

Appropriate Mobile phone manners

Advancements in technology and communications have made having a mobile phone a necessity. You should, however, learn how to use it in front of people, especially those who you’re networking with. Avoid texting or responding to emails within the main room of the event. In the case of urgent calls, excuse yourself and go somewhere quiet.

Proper listening skills

While pursuing an opportunity at a networking event, it can be tempting to talk too much as you try to demonstrate your qualifications and market yourself. However, always be prepared to listen actively to the other person.

Networking is about developing relationships, and a conversation is a two-way street. Avoid interrupting the other person, and respond to specific points/perspectives that they may present as well.

In case you missed my recent Talking Lifestyle radio interview with David Koch and Ed Phillips we discussed the importance of etiquette and some tips to make networking work better for you.

 

Understanding business etiquette at networking events is discussed in deeper detail at our Business Networking Skill Workshop. To learn more about this and gain other networking idea, enrol in one of our courses

 

Posted on September 29, 2017 .

Are you an active, accidental or strategic networker? And which one is best?

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill
 

There are many different types of networkers, but they will generally fall into the following categories – “active”, “accidental” or a very few that are “strategic”. All take a different approach to networking and will see very different outcomes as a result of their networking efforts.

Let’s take a look at the difference between the three.

Active networkers, as the name suggests, are very active in networking circles. They belong to multiple networking groups, attend as many events as they can, and invite and refer others to the events they think will benefit them. They tend to be quite assertive and take the time to talk to everyone at the events they attend.

On the other hand, an accidental networker has a more blasé and relaxed attitude towards networking. They attend meetings and events if it suits, and if they can’t make it, they don’t stress out about it. They are polite, and make conversation when the opportunity arises, but they don’t look for opportunities or blurt out their sales pitches to whoever is in earshot (not that that’s a good thing!).

Accidental networkers also don’t follow up with the contacts they make as diligently as active networkers. They figure if someone wants to contact them, they will be in touch. They spend less time preparing for events and prefer to just ‘wing it’ and go with the flow.

The best of the bunch and yet the one I come across least is a strategic networker. Someone who spends more time preparing for their events than most people. They prepare and plan what they will say, who they will use as testimonials and who they will refer. They take the time to research others who are likely to be at the events they attend, and zone in on the people they want to meet. They make introductions, ask for introductions, and always follow up at the right time in the right way.

So which category do you fall into? And which one yields the best results?

In my humble opinion, strategic networking works best. I think you can waste a lot of time and money networking – especially if it’s not aligned to the results you need. When you prepare well, put in 100% effort, speak to key people and follow up, you are more likely to be remembered, contacted and recommended.

Remember, like most soft skills, networking can be learned and improved.

Please join us to be more strategic and reap the rewards networking can provide to you, enroll in one of our networking workshops today.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au

 

Posted on September 8, 2017 .

The key personality traits of an exceptional networker

One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it's making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it's the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you're dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you.
Reid Hoffman

If you are a business person or have a professional career, then you are a networker, whether you realise it or not. Whilst some struggle with networking and have to learn and practice the art, others find it a completely natural thing to do and excel at it effortlessly. Since 85% of jobs are filled via networking, isn’t it time you know more?  

So what makes those exceptional networkers so good at it? Is it an inherited trait? Have they been to a great networking course? Has their employer trained them?  

To truly master networking yourself, it helps to take a close look at those who do it well and adapt/ apply where you can. Here’s what they are good at: 

They’re savvy, and know who they need to know

Networking is about forming the right relationships. Throughout your career you will meet a lot of people. The people you invest in and maintain relationships with need to align with your ambitions and have the expertise and experience to be able to help you with your goals.  

They’re enthusiastic

They have a true passion and belief in what they do, so when they present to a room or speak about their work - they are genuine.  

They’re interested

They have a sincere interest in you and what you do. They’re not always just seeing how you can help them and what they can get out of you. It’s a two way street, and exceptional networkers love to give as much as they receive.  

They can listen

Great networking is not just about your 30-second sales spiel. Yes, a good networker will tell you about their work. But they will also take the time to keep quiet and listen in return. 

They give good referrals

One of the great things about having a strategic network of contacts is that you can refer your connections to others. Believe it or not, this has many benefits for you! Your connections will mention you when they get in touch with each other, and will keep you in mind to return the favour when another referral opportunity arises.  

Most of all, an exceptional networker is good at it because they do it a lot. Practice really does make perfect in the world of networking. If you need some help, consider Enrolling in one of our courses today to learn the art of networking and see for yourself how to do it like the pros.  

Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au

Posted on June 28, 2017 .

Keeping Your Eye On The Prize: How To Network Your Way To A Better Job

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Steve Jobs

Ask ten people how they got the job they have and I bet they will tell you it was through someone they know! Networking is by far one of the best ways to further your career and get a better job. It reveals more opportunities and more possibilities, and in some cases, allows you to invent your own perfect position description.
 
By using networking as a tool to secure a new position, you’ve got a much better chance of getting what you want. This is because:
 

  • Most jobs come from the hidden job market – up to 80% actually!
  • Employers like to hire someone they already know and trust, or who has been recommended by another person they trust.
  • Employers prefer to avoid having to advertise. This takes time and resources, and they end up with a pile of applicants they have to sift through. If they can hire via networking it saves them a great deal of time, money and effort.
  • Without a formal advertising process, you’ll be up against significantly less competition for the position.

So, what are the best ways to approach networking when your goal is a better job? 

1. Make networking a habit – Keep up your conversations and connections as you need to have strong relationships before seeking anything.

2. Assess your current network. You’ll be amazed at how many people you already know in your network. Reach out to them and explain exactly what you’re looking for. Ask them if they have any information about upcoming opportunities or if they know of someone else you can contact. You never know where this simple act may lead. 

3. Ask for help, not a job. When you ask someone straight up for a job it can be confronting and can make them feel like they’re being ambushed. Instead, ask for some advice. Ask them for a good starting place, or how you can get a foot in the door somewhere. With a gentle approach they will be more forthcoming with help. 

4. Be specific. Know exactly what you’re looking for. When you ask specific questions, you’ll find specific answers, in the same way that vague questions will result in a vague answer. Do you want a referral? To be introduced to someone? Some work experience? A friendly chat with an insider? Know what you want and ask for it. 

5. Follow up. This links to step 1, so be sure to maintain contact with your connections and follow up. If nothing eventuates from your efforts this time, try again in 3 months time when circumstances might have changed. 

Networking and building relationships is the fastest and easiest way to further your career and reach your goals. Learn this and other networking skills from an industry expert and enroll in our Business Networking Workshop today.
 
Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au
 

The Importance Of Staying Top Of Mind To Your Contacts (And How To Do It)

This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.
Alice Waters

When you’ve put in the hard work to meet and gain new contacts through your networking, it can be easy to get complacent and think your work is done. You have their contact details and they have yours, and they’ve expressed some interest in your skills.

They’ll call you if they want you, right?

Wrong. It can be very easy for people to forget about you. You need to stay relevant to your connections so you’re the first name they think of when they need to hire or make a recommendation. A follow up email after meeting them just won’t cut it.

Here are some ways you can stay top of mind to your contacts.

1)    Keep track of your contacts and engage with them. This means actually doing something with that spreadsheet of names and numbers you have! There are many apps available (such as Contactually and Hubspot) that help you organise your contacts, deliver relevant content to them and remind you to be more active with certain people.

2)    Remind people that you exist. A great way to do this is to regularly (not just once or twice a year) publish relevant and valuable content on LinkedIn. When you do this, everyone you’re connected with receives a notification that you’ve published something. They see your name and are reminded that you’re out there.

3)    Mix it up. A regular blog once a month is great, but it can become stale and repetitive. Try mixing up the formats and the frequencies you use to stay in touch with people. You’ll capture a wider audience and cater to the different preferences of your contacts. Some love to read, so a newsletter is great. Others prefer to watch or listen, so a video or podcast would be a winner here.

4)    Keep it personal. If you know your contacts birthday, send them a card to wish them a happy birthday. If they’ve just had a baby, congratulate them. Remembering details outside of business keeps the relationship genuine.

When you have the right tools to stay organised and the right processes in place, it can be easy to stay top of mind. That way, when the time comes and they need someone just like you, you’re the one they actually contact. 

For more insider tips on how to improve your networking skills, enrol in one of our Business Networking Skills workshops today.

Happy Netships!
Julia

Julia Palmer, a respected Networking Strategist and Chief Executive of the Business Networking Academy, presenting and training on how to create and manage networks that work. To learn more visit www.juliapalmer.com & www.BusinessNetworkingAcademy.com.au