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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Networking Checklist

’Tis the season for getting out!

Went to a great event last week organized by Andrew Meringoff at the Washington DC Connections LinkedIn Group. No matter how emailed, Web 2ed, blogged and phoned we get, face to face still does a lot of my work. I’ve been thinking about what I learned at the event, tried a number of writing approaches, and as my deadline went by what came out is my Networking Checklist.

Attitude Check –Networking is helping someone - Tom Peters

Time Check – Most golf matches are won before the first tee or after the eighteenth – Bill Van Dyke. I come early and leave late.

Name Tag - Bring your own. Make it work for you.

Purpose – Why am I going? What do I want to accomplish? “20 meetings a month” is my start, add to that.

So many targets, so little time! – I want to acknowledge everyone I already know as my first order of business. After that, I concentrate on having a complete conversation with each person I meet, resulting in a recommendation or commitment to action. That is usually more than twenty people per hour, and I have helped some people, met people, and I’m tired. What more should I want?

Offer – What am I offering? I rarely start a relationship and then close a transaction at a first meeting. This is the information age. I think a public group meeting is for establishing initial interest. An interesting handout centers the discussion and enables further inquiry. Explaining a handout usually creates a line of people listening and waiting to talk with me.

Of course, I also enjoy being the featured speaker whenever I can arrange that.

Positioning – I don’t move much. Once, a new acquaintance told me she was trying to get over to meet me and I disappeared. Other people are navigating their way through the group.

What is your guidance for open meeting networking?