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Work The Room: Networking Made Simple


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An overview of the entire networking experience - from planning to working the room to following up. Pre-event planning including finding good networking opportunities, creating a introduction and identifying good contacts at events, followed by the mechanics of working the room as well as tips and tricks for handling challenges at event. Finally, we will talk about effective follow up and how to maximize your networking reach.

Planning for a networking event
Defining an effective introduction or "elevator speech"
Identifying good contacts at events
Understanding how to "work the room" including:
- How to break into a conversation group
- How to approach people at events
- Leaving a conversation
Tips for handling shyness, difficult people, alcohol and other networking challenges
Following up after the event

Published in: Self Improvement
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Work The Room: Networking Made Simple

  1. 1. Working The Room Networking Made Simple Jasmine Sante @mjsante
  2. 2. Agenda 1) About Networking 2) Preparation 3) At the Event 4) Follow-up
  3. 3. About Jasmine • Digital Strategy Consultant • Avid Networker • Started a Mentoring Program • Founder, Web Content Mavens (
  4. 4. About You – Which One Are You? 1. Job Seeker - Active 2. Job Seeker - Passive 3. Advance in Current Career 4. Career Change 5. Generate Business 1. For Your Employer 2. For your own business 6. Other Reasons (new to town, meet people, learn a new skill, etc)
  5. 5. Keep track of : • Goals & plans • Elevator Pitches • Key descriptors of your awesomeness • Lists of networking options • Success stories • Contact lists Your Networking Notebook
  6. 6. Networking What It Is – and Isn’t
  7. 7. What is Networking? Network: a “group, system, etc of interconnected or cooperating individuals”
  8. 8. You. Me. Your network. My network.
  9. 9. (You. Me.) x (Interacting + Building a Relationship ) = Multiplied Benefit
  10. 10. Networking It’s about relationships
  11. 11. Networking is about... –Creating relationships –Establishing communication –Building trust networks –Defining & supporting mutual benefit –Achieving momentum
  12. 12. Networking is NOT about... –Using others to advance yourself –Short term job seeking or short term benefit seeking (see Sales) –Taking from people without giving benefit –It’s not short term
  13. 13. Reciprocity!
  14. 14. When Someone Has Met You When people know you and have a relationship with you, they are more likely to: –Advocate for you –Remember you when an opportunity opens up –Help you with issues and challenges –Give you a better deal than a stranger
  15. 15. When You’ve Met Someone When you’ve met someone, you are, in turn, more likely to: –Advocate for someone –Remember someone when an opportunity opens up –Help others with issues and challenges –Give a better deal than to a stranger
  16. 16. = It’s an Ecosystem Networking is an interaction, a relationship between you and other people. But networking begins before that meeting. – It begins with you knowing yourself - your skills your abilities and your challenges – And ends with you presenting an honest, interesting & compelling person at an event – With a lot in between including • finding the right event • talking to the right people • presenting a positive image • communicating successfully • being memorable – And can continue with email and follow-up
  17. 17. Network Strategically
  18. 18. Network Strategically 1. Be Prepared 2. Be A Participant 3. Be Results-Oriented 4. Build Relationships 5. Be On & Offline 6. Be Long Term AND 7. Practice, Practice, Practice
  19. 19. Don’t let this stop you from participating. BUT Preparation helps Be Prepared
  20. 20. Participate: Just Do It
  21. 21. Networking is not about friends. It’s about results. - Focus on it. - Put energy into it. - Expect results. Be Results Oriented
  22. 22. Build Relationships
  23. 23. In person = stronger online relationships Online = stronger in-person connections Be On & Offline
  24. 24. • Networking is about the promise of a future benefit • It is not immediate • Build towards the future Be Long-Term
  25. 25. • You’ll get better with practice. • If you are new, you’ll get good. • If you are good, you’ll get better. Practice, Practice, Practice
  26. 26. 1. Preparation
  27. 27. Networking Preparation 1. Your Goals (what outcomes) 2. Your Brand (value proposition) 3. Your Intro or Elevator Pitch 4. Your Barriers or Challenges
  28. 28. 1) Know Your Goals 2) Know Your Brand 3) Know Your Barriers 4) Find Where to Network
  29. 29. Know Your Goals
  30. 30. Your Situation -> Your Goals SITUATIONS • Job Seeker - Active • Job Seeker - Passive • Advance in Current Career • Career Change • Sell or Generate Business – For Your Employer – For your own business (consultant, startup, company owner) • Other Reasons (new to town, meet people, learn a new skill, etc)
  31. 31. Networking Goals • Get a job • Evaluate new opportunities • Plan for a career change • Advance in your current company • Meet experts in your field • Meet experts in adjacent fields • Find prospects – sales or otherwise • Build your reputation • Business Development • Sales
  32. 32. Goals By Who You Represent • You (job) = job, next career move, networking, professional dev, resources for work • You (career & personal) = Friends, new ideas, relationships, learning opportunities • Freelance or Company Owner = business, business leads, contractors, relationships • Startup = funding, early adopters, co- founders • Company = Biz Dev, exposure etc
  33. 33. Know Your Brand
  34. 34. Communicating A Brand That is: • Positive • Memorable • Relevant YO U
  35. 35. YOUR BRAND = Memory Helper Branding = signals that generate associations.
  36. 36. Building Brand You 1)Evaluate your attributes & characteristics 2)Create a value proposition 3)Ensure that it resonates
  37. 37. The Value Proposition The Value Proposition answers the question: Why should this person want to talk to you? Identify your personal brand - the accurate, concise, clear and compelling statement of who you are that will engage others and create relationships and opportunities - and learn how to communicate your brand efficiently and effectively.
  38. 38. People use brands as shortcuts to make purchasing decisions - Allen P Adamson, BrandSimple
  39. 39. You too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not.
  40. 40. McDonalds Mom - child-friendly Teenager - cheap, place to hangout Late Night Worker – open late/open early
  41. 41. Starbucks Traveler – familiarity, consistency Consultant – wifi, consistency Jasmine – remake it if it isn’t right
  42. 42. Attributes of a Strong Brand Your Personal Brand Is: • Positive • Accurate & Authentic • Relevant • Memorable • Succinct
  43. 43. Positive • This is the best version of you. • It needs to be accurate but also highlight the strongest parts of you.
  44. 44. Accurate & Authentic • You need to promise something accurate & authentic. • You do not need to share every flaw • You DO need to be authentic
  45. 45. Relevant • Make sure your brand aligns with a need.
  46. 46. Compelling & Memorable • People need a way to differentiate between brands - a way to remember you and what you do or offer • If there are already lots of XYZs, don't focus on that. If you do something very esoteric, find a way to package it that is still unique but not so specialized. • IE if you do user research for startups, talk first about user experience and startups.
  47. 47. Succinct Clear Succinct Enough Said
  48. 48. Personal Branding Statement 1. Who you are (your skills & specialty) 2. What you do (your industry/service) 3. Who you work with 4. A leading attribute
  49. 49. Introductory Statement 1. Name 2. Your role 3. Your skills and specialties 4. Who you work with or for 5. Your company and/or service 6. Next steps (relating to your goals)
  50. 50. Removing Barriers
  51. 51. Self Assessment • Honest • Focus on knowing challenges • Moderating what is unsuccessful • Owning what you like or can’t change
  52. 52. Barriers: Talking Related • Overtalk • Me Talk • Questioner • Quiet talk • Monotone • Interrupter
  53. 53. Barriers: Personal Space • Close talker • Loud talker • Too excited • Fiddler • Toucher • Looking Around (as if bored or checking people out)
  54. 54. Barriers: Approach & Demeanor • Too complimentary (esp to opp sex) • Overly agreeable • Needy • Bored (real or seeming) • Pushy • Aggressive • Me person
  55. 55. Barriers: Approach & Demeanor • Over-inflating - “I’m the best” • Under-inflating - Too self- deprecating • Everything is perfect, fine and fabulous • Rambling personal story • Nothing to say
  56. 56. Barrier: Shyness & Introversion
  57. 57. Barrier: Fear Fear of: • Judgment • Not Measuring Up • Failure • Embarrassment
  58. 58. Make A Mistake Forget a Name Get Shy SHAKE IT OFF!
  59. 59. Before You Leave the House
  60. 60. Personal Style
  61. 61. Be the stereotype (if you want)
  62. 62. Dress Up
  63. 63. Judging others based on immediate visual and behavioral cues becomes habit, then instinct. – Peter Montoya
  64. 64. Where to Network
  65. 65. Online and In-Person
  66. 66. Online Networking – Create a Brand • Twitter • Facebook • LinkedIn • Secondary Networks (Instagram, Goodreads, Yelp, etc) • Website • Email Groups • Company Information on You • Other Online Presence
  67. 67. Basic Online Brand Elements • Strong, identifiable photo • LinkedIn profile • Online name (aka handle) that is easy to say • Simple twitter account (if you are in digital, communications, leadership, etc) • Audit your name (be sure it is searchable and not embarrassing) • Use personal email
  68. 68. The Value of In Person
  69. 69. Networking Partners Find a networking partner or friend who will
  70. 70. Where to Network - Professional Broad Networking Groups • Chamber of Commerce • Business Affiliate Networks • Networking or Business Clubs Specialized Networking Groups • In Your Field • In Adjacent Fields • In Unrelated Fields Business Associates (Clients, Contacts, etc) Co-Workers – Previous & Current Conferences and Work Events
  71. 71. Where to Network - Personal BUILDING YOUR NETWORK Other Groups • Toastmasters or similar • Civic Organizations • Cultural Groups • Clubs Family & Friends Alumni Groups Everywhere (well, almost)
  72. 72. Who to Target At Events Not just the obvious – think about: • Adjacent Professions • Potential Advocates • Connectors Who Can Make Introductions • Influencers Who Can Suggest You to Others
  73. 73. Where to Find Events • Meetup • Eventbrite • Twitter • Facebook • Search on “DC” “groups” “networking” + keywords in your interest area
  74. 74. Both On & Offline Online – twitter, facebook, blogs, etc Online To Offline – People you know online that you meet in person
  75. 75. Plan for the Future! When you meet someone, evaluate them based not just on your current needs Instead, on where you and they might be in a few years.
  76. 76. Binge Network • Go to a lot of events for a couple of weeks – you’ll get to know people and feel more comfortable.
  77. 77. At the Event
  78. 78. Have a Mission Have a simple mission. For example • Meet 3 new leads • Talk to 3 strangers • Don’t get trapped in conversation • Etc
  79. 79. Nametags
  80. 80. At the Event: Nametag Guidelines • First Name = big letters – Common name = add a last initial or last name – Hard to pronounce = option of a pronunciation key – Bad handwriting = Bring your own pen or pre- written name tag • THEN: Something To Start a Conversation – Your company – Your title – interesting or vague – Something quirky – A question – etc
  81. 81. At the Event: Body Posture • Generally, be open to people (to the largest degree you can) • Open body posture • Look around, not down • Smile when someone meets your eyes
  82. 82. Don’t do this!
  83. 83. Body Posture Dos & Don’ts • Don’t sit down • Don’t fiddle with your iPhone • Do stand near the bar, buffet, entrance or other gathering place • Do have a drink in hand to avoid crossing your arms • Don’t stand with a closed posture or look down • Do look around the room – slowly and calmly (you aren’t looking for someone – you are viewing the crowd) • Do meet people’s eyes – and if they are close, smile and introduce yourself
  84. 84. Find an open, welcoming body posture
  85. 85. Drinks at Events
  86. 86. How to Interact
  87. 87. How to Interact: Mechanics • Who to approach • Starting a Conversation • Continuing Conversation • Break into a conversation group • Work a room • When to offer a biz card
  88. 88. Dos & Don’ts • Stop worrying about etiquette • Talk to new people • It's ok to start with a friend/acquaintance in the first few minutes or when you feel uncomfortable • Visit with them when they are talking with someone
  89. 89. 3 Parts of a Conversation 1. Opening 2. Discussion A. Who you are B. What you do C. Why they want to interact with you (and the reverse for your conversation partner) 3. Close
  90. 90. Starting the Conversation • Be sincere • Be brief • Use an open-ended question
  91. 91. Icebreakers & Conversation Starters
  92. 92. Conversation Starters • Hi, my name is Jasmine • What brought you here? • Are you an x or a y attendee? • Do you know many people here? I'm trying to meet x or y. Or to meet people who do x or y. • Do you mind if I join you? • How did you hear about this event? • There’s a lot of x. What jumps out at you? (or what doesn't work for you, etc) • Are you following x story?
  93. 93. More... • That’s a great tie. Love that shirt. – When someone compliments you – use it as an opportunity to talk more. • Have you tried the food yet? I’m torn between the beef and the veggie. • I’m trying to extend my network – not just talk with the usual suspects. • Is that a Note? I’ve been looking at those.
  94. 94. Next Phase • Brevity – it continues. • Questions – use them sparingly – What are you working on? – What are you interested in? • Relate to something they just said • Talk about a friends project • Talk up technology • Be helpful • Talk about yourself!
  95. 95. Non-Professional Events (or later at professional ones) • Ask an intriguing question • Great event. I know I should go home but I’m enjoying this so much. • Are you having fun? • I’m thinking of grabbing dinner after this – do you know the area?
  96. 96. Breaking Into Group Pods
  97. 97. Ending the Conversation: Follow-up If you want to follow-up: Clear, concise call to action • Do you have a business card? • I have someone I think you should meet • I'd love to talk more, grab coffee, pick brain
  98. 98. Ending the Conversation: Introduction If you feel you don’t have a connection but the person is relevant to others: Make an introduction! • Makes a positive and memorable impression
  99. 99. Ending a Conversation: No follow-up • “I’m headed over there. Nice to meet”. • “Excuse me. I have to take this text message”. • “I’m sorry but I need to take care of something”. <-or talk to someone • “This is a great conversation. Can we continue this later?” • “This has been great. I’d like to meet a few other people but let’s talk later.” <-optional
  100. 100. Follow-Up
  101. 101. Following Up • Twitter, Facebook, linkedin, etc • How to follow-up after no reply • How to keep the conversation going (types: casual keeping self on radar, when you want something, etc)
  102. 102. Stay In Contact A few ideas... • Jot down notes about people. • Follow-up to see if a deal went through, if they found a new apartment, etc. • Send interesting articles with a short note (“Thought this might be of interest”) • Forward events that might be useful to them (Note that frequency will depend on the relationship - but once a month is usually the max unless you are close with someone.)
  103. 103. Follow-up with Ask Steps in the follow-up 1. Memory nudge: where we met or what we talked about 2. The ask: short conversation, intro, etc. 3. Specific time options or specific next steps 4. Statement of flexibility or alternate plan 5. Action step for the other person 6. Thanks
  104. 104. Follow-up with Ask (Pt 2) • Onus on you • Be clear about expectations – leads – groups – overview of profession • State time request clearly • Be grateful
  105. 105. Not everyone is available • Don’t take it personally if there is no reply • Be willing to nudge after a week – Be casual & light – Do NOT imply guilt – Don’t pressure
  106. 106. Say Hi! Jasmine Sante Sante Strategies @mjsante