by Lee Abraham
Diversity is good. Particularly in networking. The wider variety of business categories, as well as age, ethnicity and just about any other demographic variable, including a balance of both men and women, the stronger the network and further its reach.
Other factors, including dress and appearance, require a delicate balance between diversity and minimum standards. And therein lies the rub. Why? Opinions on dress and appearance, particularly our own, can be very subjective.
Basic Etiquette 103 – Dress to Meet or Exceed Expectations For Your Occupation.
The operative phrase is “expectations for your occupation.”
Someone representing a Carpet Cleaning business is perfectly professional in a nice pair of shorts and short sleeve, company logo shirt. On the other hand, an Attorney or CPA is expected to look like a “business” professional, decked out in a suit or some other, equally natty attire.
Should be simple, right? Listen. Anyone who has been involved in structured networking for any length of time can tell you a story about the slob who used to be in their group, and how that person never ceased to amaze with a sloppy appearance and counterproductive self image.
Do yourself and the rest of the group a favor: do not be that person. Let’s face it, you only have one chance to make a good first impression and you never know who you will meet at a networking meeting!
Rationalizing a too causal look with “Well, everybody there already knows me,” or “I don’t have any other appointments after the meeting, so why bother?” is the teetering point of good and bad decision making. Unlike too many things in life and business, you have control over what you wear and how you look. Take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t be lazy, be sharp!
Basic Etiquette 104 – Be Prepared to Train Your Sales Force
Getting the most out of a networking meeting is in a large part due to preparation. Some of the essentials are your business cards and any promotional material you’d like to use.
Most importantly though, be prepared to clearly train the rest of the group, your “Sales Force,” to recognize your Target Market for this week and what to tell the prospect on your behalf.
Waiting for the last minute to figure out your weekly Target Market and how to quickly train the group to find it for you, begs repeating of an old cliché: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” ‘Nuff said!
Sure, there are many other details you can prepare each week to maximize your results from structured networking. We are going to look at two of the most important, regular attendance, as well as finding, training and rewarding a substitute “Bragging Buddy” to fill in at meetings you can’t attend, next time, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter!