I’ve recently been asked to share my advice on how best to approach attending an in-person networking event when you have to go it alone, so I thought I’d just provide access to a PDF of the Nov. 2010 article I wrote for the now (sadly) defunct site: WomenEntrepreneur.com.
I’m also including a link to the article via Box.net. Please feel free to share it with others, and because the site where it first appeared no longer exists, I’m also reprinting a few of the tips I included in it here. Please let me know if you try either of these and how they turn out for you.
Two additional pieces of advice that I’ve used and have seen help solo attendees again and again:
1. Find the event’s host(s) or any of its sponsors and introduce yourself to them with the same warm smile and handshake as above, and then thank them for hosting and/or sponsoring the event. Remember, these people are hosting the event and they want everyone there to have a good experience — just as you would if you were hosting a party or event. You can then ask about their connection to or role with the group/event and find out what their goals are for the evening. You might be surprised by what you learn, and maybe you’ll discover a few ways you might help them.
If nothing comes to mind immediately, ask for a business card and make a note of their need on the back of it. Let them know you’ll be in touch if you come across whatever it is they need. At that point, explain what made you attend the event and your own goals for attending, and just wait and see what happens next. More often than not, they just might try to help you connect with other folks at the event or will follow up with you via e-mail or phone.
2. Get in line for something, whether it’s food, drink or the bathroom (seriously). Use that time to ask the person of your choice (in front or behind you) if she’s connected to the event or a member, or know anyone who was nominated. Or if it’s someone you know slightly, try one of my all-time favorite openers, which anyone can answer: Find out what they’re working on. For example, “Hi Britney, good to see you. Sandy Jones-Kaminski from Bella Domain (in case she looks like she doesn’t remember you); we met at the spring luncheon. How are things going? (Let them answer.) So what are you working on these days? Anything exciting?”
Sometimes the answer is something fun, like planning a trip to Australia. Or it might even be something you can assist them with by connecting them to a resource. If there aren’t any lines at the event, just look around for another solo person and practice any of the techniques mentioned above. I’ve met some of my favorite contacts that way, and they now make it a practice to do the same thing whenever they attend any type of event.
Need help developing an effective networking strategy for your business or career? Check out my Work With Me page while you’re here.Read More
Find out how I define networking and why I think it matters by watching the interview I did with Steve Piazzale, Ph.D., the host of “You’re Hired!”Read More
I’ve been wanting to write a post about how one should NOT leave a job for a while now, but I’ve been too busy at my new job. And then, what do you know? Glassdoor went ahead and shared a blog post from @myfootpath for me! It’s titled, “How To Resign On Good Terms,” and they did a fine job of it.
I especially like the emphasis on giving more than 2 weeks notice when you’re in a higher level or key position. Believe it or not, I know someone that after 8 years actually gave what amounted to less than 2 weeks notice and left when their only back-up was on a planned vacation. It was very sad.
All too often, what I don’t think people consider is just how many bridges they’re burning when they leave without enough notice, don’t help find a replacement or thoroughly document the status of their projects, accounts or work. And, I’m not referring to the bridges in management because, unfortunately, and all too often, they just move on quickly since they don’t typically “do” the person’s work anyway. I’m talking about the bridges that will really matter…those that connect you to your co-workers. Now that’s the group with which you need to be concerned because you never know where they are going to turn up again or how you might need their help in the form of intel, contacts, a reference or a referral from them down the road.
Today, reality is, our 6 degrees of separation are more like 3 or 4 degrees, and more often than not, you will bump into each other again. Don’t let the last thing people remember about you be how you left them high and dry to clean up the mess you may have left behind. Besides, it’s just seriously bad karma, so please take heed people and read the Glassdoor post!Read More
I thought I was done with these LinkedIn tips, but apparently I am not.
I just received an email from LinkedIn about using their messaging system and InMails in particular. They shared 5 good tips on how to make the most of these communications and I thought I should share it because most of this applies not only to InMails, but also to any email or message within LinkedIn or elsewhere, and regardless of the degree of connection:
1.First impressions count: Use a direct and informative subject line to make it clear what your message is about.
2.Less is more: Keep your message clear and concise. Longer messages tend to have lower response rates.
3.Mention common threads: If you know someone in common, or have similar backgrounds, mention it. It’s a great way to start a conversation.
4.Build credibility: Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and up to date. A strong profile can help strengthen your message.
5.Reach out with confidence: InMails have a response guarantee*, so don’t be afraid to send them out. (Nice that they have a guarantee, but coming across with confidence is always key…just try not to come across as cocky.)
And, one last thing from Guy Kawasaki with which I totally agree:
The ideal length for an email is five sentences. The ideal content level is one idea. If you’re asking something reasonable of a reasonable recipient, simply explain who you are in one of two sentences and get to the “ask.” If it’s not reasonable, don’t ask at all.Read More
Now that I’ve wrapped up my first 2 weeks in my new role as a full-time employee for FILTER, a digital solutions agency for staffing and creative services in San Francisco (and Seattle, LA, Portland), it’s finally time for me to put this request in writing because, quite frankly, helping people connect with employers in my new job pretty much depends on it.
When I meet you out and about at an event, on a BART train, in line at Specialty’s or at a board meeting, please tell me NOT what you’ve done, but what you really WANT to do next and WHERE you want to do it. Give me a few titles or roles I can remember and a few company names I can latch onto so I can keep an eye out for them when I’m out there doing my thing.
And for those in both Seattle and San Francisco, be sure to tell me where you DO NOT want to work as well. We all have our lists of both, so don’t be coy and act like you’ll take any job because, even as bad as things have been, we all know that unemployment has been a much more desirable option than taking a job at a place with a commute that’ll kill you and/or destroy your relationships, or at a place like “the Death Star” (don’t ask).
If you’re worried that you’re limiting yourself by this, when you go to your next event, or send your next “I’d like to meet for coffee to reconnect” email, be sure to tell that person 2-3 different roles and/or company names so you can plant a variety of seeds in your garden. Help them help you!Read More