Thursday, May 10, 2012

Three Networking Tips From Ellen Ely

"What Should Your Focus be as a Successful Networker?" was Ellen Ely's session topic at a recent National Association for Professional Organizers (NAPO) National Conference held in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ellen presented 19 networking tips and my favorite tip was to wear a "networking uniform" to a networking event. Her comments about this uniform:

1.  Wear a jacket with two pockets.  Use the right pocket for incoming business cards and the left pocket for your cards.  Once you receive a card, present your card to the other person...right away.  A two-pocket system keeps the two sets of cards separate and prevents handing out another person's card rather than your own (embarrassing situation).

2.  Wear a nice lapel pin/unusual earrings/necklace; men can wear a great tie.  The item you wear must have meaning to you, then people will notice and comment on it.  This technique works at other types of social events and at work too, especially if small talk is not your strong point.  My Texas sister and I were chatting about this topic and she mentioned commenting on a customer's unique necklace which led to an interesting dialogue.

3.  Write down identifying information about the other person on the back of their business card--in code.  Listen to what they have to say.  Once your conversation is finished, go into the restroom and add notes to help jog your memory the next time you meet.  Ellen said, "...You know information about them and they will love you for it.  Whatever you do, don't drop the card."
  • Start by writing down the phonetic spelling of their name; pronouncing their name correctly is most important.
  • Next, jot down their gender (F - female; M - male) and race (Ellen uses the government's racial code numbers for this purpose).
  • Code their hair, for example, S or short for haircut, R or red for color.
  • Draw two circles with a arch connecting the circles to indicate eye-glass wearer.
  • Married can be denoted with two circles touching each other.
  • Use the letter "K" for kids.
  • Body type symbols annotated with these letters:  CH - chubby; SK - skinny; AV - average, and so on. 
This quote from Stephanie Goddard Davidson's book, 101 Ways to Have a Great Day at Work, is not from Ellen's session; however, I thought it fit. 
Decide that every person that you come in contact with today can teach you something.  Be aware of this possibility and manage the conversation toward this outcome.