Networking etiquette: six golden rules

We’re deep into autumn and the business networking whirl is in full swing.  Back in June, I delivered a training session to a group of entrepreneurs on the rules for ‘dressing for networking success’.   We talked about not only how to dress, but how you should behave when networking.

One of the reasons my business is called style&grace is because I believe how you present yourself is equally as important as how you dress.  How you speak, how you treat others and how you carry yourself matter.  Your manners and behaviour should complement and enhance your look, not undermine it.  In other words, it all comes down to good etiquette.

Here are my six golden rules for networking etiquette:

  1. Introduce yourself clearly, and bring people into the conversation
  2. Shake hands firmly – make eye contact and smile as you do so
  3. Keep your right hand free for that firm handshake
  4. If you forget a name – say so ! Don’t be British and embarrassed about it.  Repeating names back works for me (and many politicians)
  5. Don’t pig out or drink too much !
  6. Follow up with those contacts that you’d like to meet again by email, LinkedIn, phone, handwritten note – whatever works for you and is appropriate

And finally, take a genuine interest in other people.  This is demonstrating the best manners of all, and is sadly lacking these days.  You’ll be amazed at what you learn about them and the common ground you may find.

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