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Networking rosieSTYLE

Business woman shaking hands in meeting

By now we’ve all heard the standard networking tips:

    • Dress for success.
    • Set goals.
    • Practice your elevator speech, but don’t talk about yourself too much.
    • Ask about the other person first and leave questions open-ended.
    • Don’t expect to make a sale.

 

These are solid tips, but we are taking it a step farther and sharing our rosieSTYLE networking tips. Being a “rosie” means you are interested not only in building your business, but helping others succeed. These tips will help you establish yourself as a resource and leader.

Hopefully, you already know the importance of professional attire at a networking event, but if you want to make a lasting impression and become recognizable, try wearing something memorable like a signature color or distinct accessory that says something about what you do.  Our CEO, Alicia, wears a Rosie name necklace, and we’ve seen pins and brooches that correlate with well-known business philosophies and motivational stories (i.e. the starfish). This can be especially effective at women-only events since women are more likely to notice and remember these details.

It has been established that a networking event is not the place to make sales, so set goals like:

I will set follow-up appointments with three people. Following up is essential. If you don’t go back to the office and email the people you met, then there was probably no point to going in the first place. Use a second meeting to learn more about the other person, what she does, and how you can help each other be successful. 

I will learn at least one thing about each person that has nothing to do with business. Women have an advantage when it comes to networking. By nature, most of us are social creatures who don’t need anyone to twist our arm to talk about something other than work. Do be careful to leave a line between friendship and networking. A 2010 Forbes Magazine article “Networking Know-How” warns that if you bond over common interests and  “… exchange business cards and part with a new friend,” problems can arise if you end up doing business and it doesn’t work out.

I will give five referrals. People will remember you and want you in their network if, upon finding out what they do, you can immediately think of someone who will need their services. If you can’t send someone business, listen for needs you can help meet by recommending trusted service providers.

Now that we all know it’s taboo to just pass out business cards and give elevator speeches, it seems the new go-to move is being the first to ask “What do you do?” If you don’t beat the other person to the punch, think of questions you can ask to find out more about this person and their profession. One of our favorite questions is “How long have you been…” Though, by definition, it’s not an open-ended question, the answer is rarely just a number of months or years; it almost always leads to conversation about previous career experience, education, relocation, or how this person found her bliss.

Finally, if you aren’t sure whom to talk to at an event, there are two types of people you should make a point to meet and connect with.

The influencers or event coordinators. These people know just about everyone at the event and, quite possibly, in the community. If they know who you are and what you do, they can help connect you with the right people.

The wallflower. Not everyone is a master socializer. If you see someone who hasn’t found anyone to mingle with, go learn about her and see if you know anyone she should get to know. Become the connector and you will earn a place in this person’s heart and contact list.

We hope our rosieSTYLE networking tips inspire you to find your inner rosie and go to your next networking event stronger, bolder and better.

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