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Networking: How to Work a Room

By REDC Business Advisor Kerri Salls

People at networking event

Through the pandemic, events and occasions to network professionally were eliminated or restricted to video conferencing. Live events are now coming back. It’s time to brush up on your networking skills to make the most of these opportunities.

Here are five rules of networking to launch you successfully back into live networking. These are only a few of the many lessons in Melvin Kaufmann's little book called The Millionaire's Handbook (out of print):

1. Never Be Late

It's protocol. You've heard it from everyone your whole life: parents, teachers, employers.

Why be early? "To get the best parking spot," "To get the best seat." "To avoid a line." "To get fresh coffee." "It's polite." None of these reasons add to your paycheck. Most likely, no one explained the financial advantages of being early.

The primary reason to be early is to select the productive people you need to meet - the professionals who can provide the biggest and best business opportunities for you.

People at networking event

2. Pick and Choose

Preparation and planning are in order. Enter each event with an agenda. You have to build a scaffolding for all the networking skills you are honing. If there are 100 professionals attending an event, you cannot meet all of them in a 30-minute social hour. You have to pick and choose the people to meet.

How do you pick and choose? Arrive at each event 30 minutes early:

· Pay your dues/registration

· Collect or make your name tag

· Greet the registrar

· Greet the host

· Greet the speaker(s)

· Stand 15 feet from the entrance

· Face the door at a 45-degree angle

· Keep your eyes riveted on people's name tags as they enter

· Focus on the name tag, not their attire

· Focus on the picture not the frame

Woman registering at networking event

3. Time Wasters - Squandered time is squandered money

Standing in the registration line is a time waster. Your friend in line ahead of you hinders you from meeting others.

· Checking in with the registrar is a Time Waster

· Paying your dues/registration is a Time Waster

· Collecting or making your name tag is a Time Waster

The time it takes to do all these steps is a financial waste. You may have arrived at the event on time only to enter the group 20 minutes later, squandering most of the available 30 minutes of networking time. It adds up to 20 minutes of lost revenue. If you come late to an event and waste precious networking time, the result is time and opportunities you stole from yourself.

4. The Resourceful Registrar

Being 30 minutes early will give you the opportunity to get acquainted with the registrar. The registrar is an important cog in your financial wheel. They know everyone you need to know; everyone you came to meet. They also know the speaker. Treat the registrar like your best client.

People at networking event

5. Executive Director

It is imperative that you greet the executive director at every event. Executive directors often advise the affluent in selecting financial consultants, accountants, lawyers, architects, construction professionals, insurance agents, physicians, dentists, and dozens of other service providers. The executive director is a center of influence and is your link to a myriad of wealthy executives and business owners. The key reason to greet the executive director is to have them use you as a resource person for their members. That's how you go from invisible to obvious.

Your Assignment

Apply these five rules of networking at each event you attend. Track your results.

Hand writing down tracking results in notebook

REDC provides no-cost business advising to businesses in New Hampshire. We can provide in person or virtual meetings and can assist with business advice, financing advice, marketing advice, and graphic design assistance. Learn more about REDC’s Business Advising here and request an appointment.


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