As we discussed last week, “Networking” is a popular buzz word but how do you network?
I strongly encourage you to dress the part. If you are attending an event, dress as you expect others to dress or, better yet, a step above. If you are meeting one-on-one, consider what you know about the other person’s job and how they will probably dress. Be consistent and possibly a step higher. Show respect by dressing nicely.
For an event, I prefer to wear a sport coat or blazer. A sport coat or blazer gives you pockets that are easily accessible. Group events normally include name tags and you are expected to have a supply of business cards ready to share. Wearing a blazer with side pockets provides a reachable location for your business cards. Keep your cards in your front left hand side pocket.
Sloppy name tags are common at group events. I recommend a nicely printed name badge with your company logo and typed name. Use sturdy paper stock and a quality color printer. Then display the name badge in a durable magnetic badge holder. Sticky name tags prepared with a marker as you sign in are not just sloppy, they do not convey much information and they are prone to curling and failing off. Using a pin-on or clip-on badge holder can ruin clothing or cause you to place the name tag in a less than desirable position. How many times have you seen someone in a sweater with a clip-on name badge attached to a clump of fabric?
If you are inclined to spend a bit more, purchase a professionally made name badge with your company logo. These are not that expensive and give you the appearance of someone who networks regularly.
Place your name badge on the upper right side of your chest. The right side draws the other person’s eye to the name badge as you shake hands. Their natural line of sight is up your arm right to your name.
Shake with your right hand and hand out a card with your left. That is why you keep the cards in your left side, lower, outside jacket pocket.
I hope these tips are helpful as you attend networking functions.
Next week, we will explore what else to bring with you and some tips on how to successfully conduct yourself.