“Networking” is a popular buzz word these days and people from all walks of life are being encouraged to network. Over the past two weeks, we have discussed preparation and dress.
What should you bring to a networking meeting? The answer depends upon the type of event and whether you expect to be sitting or standing. If you are conducting a one-on-one meeting, either in a business office setting or a restaurant, you will likely have a desk or table. In this environment, have your business card out and hand it to the other person right after you greet one another. It is appropriate to bring along a pad of paper or portfolio with writing paper. Company literature is also appropriate as you will be able to open it on the desk and discuss the material.
In an event where the attendees are standing and mingling try not to have anything in your hands. Nor should you expect the other person to accept literature hold onto it as they mingle. If it makes sense to share company material with the person, schedule a follow-up one-on-one meeting where you can dive deeper into your material and theirs.
In a one-on-one meeting it is appropriate to have a cup of coffee or glass of water. Be careful how much you consume, pace yourself to the expected length of the meeting. When you will need to stand, avoid eating or drinking. It is very hard to juggle a drink and/or plate, shake hands, present your business card and accept the other person’s card. Keep your hands free to shake hands and exchange business cards. Wise counsel told me to eat before you arrive so you are not tempted to try to dine at the event.
Next week we will focus on how you present yourself and your organization.