Marketing expect Taryn Pisaneschi shared various “do’s” and “don’ts” for networking events.
• Dress the part. Always look professional to reflect the best you possible.
• Turn off cell phone ringers and be present while talking to others. It’s rude to have to turn off a ringing phone in the middle of a conversation.
• Watch alcohol intake. Remember not everyone drinks and some may be offended if you’re even slightly “tipsy.”
• Bring a pen and take notes of your conversations on the back on business cards.
• Follow up later with a personal e-mail, social networking site message or a link to an article or blog relating back to your discussion at the event.
• Try to help others before you sell your own services. Ask others what they’re looking for as far as business leads and connect others you may know to them.
• Have mismatched logos, Web site and business cards. All marketing collateral should be consistent, reflecting your personal brand.
• Check e-mail while talking to people. Others need to know they have your full attention.
Successful networking is about more than just handing out business cards, a marketing expert told a group of Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday.
Taryn Pisaneschi, a national speaker and founder of Women Intelligently Networking, addressed a crowd of about 80 during the quarterly meeting of the Women Who Mean Business group.
Pisaneschi told the gathering that the key to successful networking is building personal relationships, rather than just trying to find business leads.
“Resist the urge to hand your business card over immediately when you first meet someone,” she said. “Ask them questions, and when they ask you questions, shape your replies around them.
“Talk and build a rapport. When they start to feel comfortable with you, that connection starts happening.”
Making connections is what networking is all about, Pisaneschi said, although sometimes networkers forget that.
“When we look at the actual definition of networking, it’s the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business,” she said.
“You need to ask yourself if you’re going to networking events with the intent to truly develop productive relationships or are you going to just see who’s there,” Pisaneschi said.
Before leaving for any networking gathering, Pisaneschi said there are some things to think about.
Among them: Image; marketing collateral; personal brand; and event selection.
Pisaneschi said image, marketing collateral and personal brand should always tie together.
“Am I representing the best me possible?” she said.
Marketing collateral, which includes items like business cards, logos and Web sites, should always be consistent, she said.
“Sometimes, I’ll meet someone and they look great and professional, but then they hand me their business card and a phone number’s scratched out or I go to their Web site and it’s very outdated,” Pisaneschi said.
“Everything needs to tie together and reflect the best you possible.”
Pisaneschi also recommended being selective with networking events, so as to not waste time going to those that likely won’t lead to appropriate contacts.
She also suggested developing a 90-second “elevator pitch” to concisely describe your business and goals.
The most important tool to bring along, she said, is a simple ink pen.
“If you take nothing else away from today, remember to always have a pen on you,” she said.
The pen is important because it allows networkers to take notes on personal details with those they’re meeting.
“If you’re talking to someone about their dog, take out your pen and on the back of their business card make a note of that,” she said.
Later, she advised, follow up with a personal e-mail or message on a social networking site, and bring up whatever was discussed.
“Remember, the way to truly be successful with networking is to make true personal relationships,” she said.
Kathleen Kenworthy, one of the attendees, said it was “good to be reminded of the fundamentals” of networking.
“And as women, it’s important to know that being nice and respectful to others really is what truly matters,” she said. “If you’re a good person and treat others well, you’ll be successful in business. Sometimes we forget that.”