Years ago, I called this concept networking with “common courtesy”. But, just like “common sense”, this practice is anything but commonplace in the business world today. Go figure!
One of the smartest ways to make that best possible first impression when networking is both very simple AND very easy. When you network wit “Uncommon Courtesy”, it clearly differentiates yourself from the amateurs out there. Here are some Best Practices to help you do that:
- Talk less and listen more, especially when you listen intensely to other people’s words, their tone of voice and their nonverbal or body language messages. This helps you avoid talking too much, especially about you.
- Ask for their card at the end of a brief conversation so you can follow up … not at the beginning of it.
- Ask for permission to give them your card rather than automatically handing it to them.
- Tell less and ask more, especially asking good questions about them and what they do.
- Introduce them to other people you meet.
- Wait to take a seat until the workshop or event is just about to start and then ask permission to join those already seated.
- Ask if this is a good time for them in the first 15 seconds of your follow up phone call.
- Respect their time by not asking for large amounts too soon in a new relationship. Several short phone conversations or an e-mail exchange are better than holding out for that 90-minute lunch.
- Return their calls promptly and get back to them when you say you will.
- Share resources, ideas or contacts to help them accomplish their networking objectives. Givers always gain.
- Send them a hand-written thank you note when they share something useful with you.
There you have it. These strategies take so little time or effort, but do so much to impress other people that you are a networking pro. Whether or not they treat you the same way doesn’t matter. ‘Uncommon Courtesy’ helps you live by Dr. Tony Alessandra’s “Platinum Rule” – treating other people the way they want you to treat them.
So, try Uncommonly Courteous Networking at every event you attend. You’ll be amazed with your results.