Top Ten Networking Tips

A recent exchange between Delsys employees sparked the idea for the subject of this blog. Our Senior Analyst, Craig, was running off to a networking meeting and having trouble folding his pocket square, when our Office Manager, Jenn, told him about a trick her Dad used to use with his suits – he would wrap the pocket square in a business card to get the perfect angle and a firm square that would always hold up in the pocket. She also noted that in doing so, you would always have a spare business card. So in honour of Jenn’s Father’s brilliant networking tip, I challenged the Delsys team to come with our 10 top networking tips. So here goes:

  1. When you put on your name badge at a networking event, always place it on the right hand side of your chest. This way, the eye of those who’s hand you are shaking, will naturally follow up from the hand shake directly to the name badge, making it easier for those you are meeting to see your name. Also instead of waiting in line to fill out the infamous “Hello, my name is…” badge, consider coming with your own pre-branded, magnetically attached, reusable badge with your name preprinted. It is another way to brand your company and skip that annoying marker station.
  2. Look good. Always dress appropriately for the occasion and if unsure call the organizer to find out what the dress code is ahead of time. For example, if you are a dude and you are wearing a suit, never show up in white socks or without a belt. Always overdress for an occasion if you are in doubt. You can always tear off the tie and roll up the sleeves of a dress shirt but you can’t make flip flops look good.
  3. Be prepared. Before you attend an event, make sure you’re well-versed on who’s attending, what you want to ask and how you’re going to present yourself. See who’s attending; decide who you want to meet. Google them; prepare questions to ask. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is current and accurate.  Plan to bring the essentials ahead of time i.e., business cards, name badge, cash for the bar.
  4. Speaking of the bar, never wait in a line and leave without a drink in each hand – alcohol or non-alcoholic. There is no greater gesture to a colleague, or someone you are hoping to talk to, than offering them a beverage. Worse case scenario you end up with a second drink with out the wait.
  5. Smile, smile, smile. It will make you approachable and makes it easier for others to start conversations with you. No one wants to talk to the one in the corner with the sour face. Also, since you’re smiling and feeling good, introduce yourself – at first to anyone but once you master this you might consider prime targets. Keep your skills honed, at least once a day, smile and say hello to a stranger.
  6. Greet with a firm yet welcoming hand shake. Too strong a grip is overpowering and offending, and too limp a hand will leave the other party judging. It’s a balance between the two, practice on friends and co-workers if you question the shake at all.
  7. Provide your business card and say “we should catch up sometime” and then actually follow up with the people after the event. Send them a handwritten”great to meet you” note or follow up email. Always deliver on any promises made, like connecting them to a resource or an expert you know or have recommended.
  8. Seek out people who work in a slightly different field to yours. You could find there’s something you do that they don’t. Which means you could both be a great fit for future projects together.
  9. Volunteering is a great networking tool. Not the charitable, picking up trash kind of charity, but volunteering your skills and expertise. It shows off what you know and what you’re capable of in your work. For example, Mason, an Analyst here at Delsys, has made some great connections guest-lecturing for creative writing workshops and hopes to do more of this in the future. His hope is to one day volunteer as a writing tutor, not only because he would feel good about it, but you never know when someone you’ve helped can help you back.
  10.  As a general rule: Always behave gracefully, professionally, courteously and elegantly. Attracting is much easier (and generally more effective) than pursuing.
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