Make Networking a Way of Life by Laurel Brown

Networking- A group or system of interconnected things or people.  First came about in 1560 from the fishing industry – the wider the net, the more fish they would be able to catch.  Networking is like fishing.

As a child, Laurel would fish by casting a bucket into the lake and see what she would be able to scoop up.  This was fun, but how effective?  Her neighbor, Mr. Funk new how to fish…when and where to fish.  When you came to this conference did you make a networking plan?

Every time you meet someone new, it is an opportunity to learn something new, Church, the gym, grocer store.

You should have an opening line prepared for when you first meet someone so that you both feel comfortable.  Ex., what brought you to this meeting?  Then, get to know them with questions like Why did you come to this session?  What do you like to do when you are not working?

Have some conversation ideas.  Learn about current affairs, movies or best selling books.  Also, know football scores if you are from the south.  Two websites that can help: or  EX: 85% of customers on hold have yelled or cursed while waiting.

Life balance is important.  Through networking you may be blending the personal and professional lives.  This can cause stress so you need to maintain a healthy balance.  Having balance will allow you to be more flexible, you project confidence.  People like to be around confident people.

Once in a while you have to go to the willowwacks – a quiet place that you can decompress.

Be ready, willing and able to help others.  It does not necessarily have to deal with a work related project.

Always keep your integrity.  Bad news spreads quicker than good news.  When you make a mistake apologize quickly.  Integrity is tied to your reputation and also for the company that you work for.

Be positive and fun.  People like to see a smile.

Try to never speak ill about anyone.  It will always come around to haunt you.  Always speak positive and about the positives.

Always carry a pen and paper or an electronic gadget that you can take notes with.

Be careful with your electronic messages.  You may want to wait a day if you are writing an emotional email.  Ex: One time a group brought pastries to our office.  She emailed out to her co-workers…..pasties available up front.  She emailed out pasties, not pastries.

Listening is being quiet and observing body language.  Body language can often speak more than the spoken word.  Texting during a conversation is disrespectful.  It says “you are not important to me right now.”

A hidden word in listen is silent if you shuffle the letters.

Techniques for successful networking

Elevator speech – 20 second blurb about yourself for when you meet new people.  Quick and simple description about who you are and what you do.

Include name, business name/location, your specialism/product/service.  But, it also must include something that is going to make them want to know more.  It should be interesting enough for people to pay attention, but very concise.   See Molly Gordon at  for good instruction on elevator speech creation.

Be Different – Why would someone want to come to you if you are the same as everyone else?  That difference needs to stand out amongst others.

We entered into a brief breakout with those around us sharing our elevator speeches.  Many of the attendees came up with great ideas for their elevator speeches.

Be different continued…..when you receive an email call them right back.  Say I just read your email and I wanted to give you a call back to get you a quick answer.  That is a good and quick way to promote your business.

Smile on the phone.  Your smile can be heard.

When someone asks how you are doing, do not answer with FINE.  FINE really means “Feelings I am Not Expressing.”  Try saying something like “I am so happy I could be twins.”

Do not cross your arms.  It sounds out a negative, closed vibe.  People do not see that you are just in a comfortable position.

Always wear your name tag .  It is free advertising and also gives people an opportunity to create dialogue with you.  You should wear a name tag on the right side because we read from left to right.

Have a detailed email signature.  People want to be able to get in touch with you.  Include a sentence or two about yourself, your company or job.  That is even better than a famous quote because it is about you.

Always follow up when you say that you are going to do something.  4 musts

1. Send a note within 24 hours

2. If you made a promise, follow through with it by the deadline or before

3. Call within two weeks if you say “let’s get together”

4. If you ask someone to pass on your card or resume send them a thank you and follow up with them.  They will want to know if their referral was successful for you.

Always be open and ready to meet new people

Make eye contact with people and smile

Have an open and friendly approach

Keep a pen and paper to write



Help at least one person with something.  Just simply be helpful without the objective of getting anything in return.

Sit with a new group of people at least 2 times.


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