It’s no wonder networking has started to take on the artificial feel of fake and shallow. It’s because the majority of people have no idea how to network! They know they “should” network and maybe they even want to and enjoy it, but have no idea how.
As Kevin Daum points out, decades ago there used to be etiquette class for networking. Where is that go?! People simply don’t know how to genuinely connect with one anothers in a way that is professional, courteous and mutually beneficial (unless they have attended Dale Carnegie courses, of course). Daum’s article on etiquette rules is a great resource for getting better results at networking – and leaving a better impression.
All 12 of Daum’s rules are insightful – trust us, these are not the types of rules made to be broken – but we have two personal favorites: Look people in the eye and smile (#10); and, Ask if you don’t know (#11).
Looking someone in the eye can be a challenge, but it shows interest, as well as confidence and focus. Daum admits to struggling with this rule and yet notes, “I find it changes the entire emotional dynamic in a positive way.” Smiling is one of Dale Carnegie’s secrets to success, because it allows you to build rapport, earn trust and enhance relationships – three important aspects of strong business building. Networking is really about creating a connection with another person, think about it: would you approach and build a relationship with someone who never had a smile on their face? It makes someone approachable and even memorable. In a room full of people networking, those are valuable traits to exude.
We like rule #11 for the simple fact that we know you can avoid that awkwardness completely. But, before we go into that, we want to point out that if you do forget a name, we agree with Daum that it is better to ask than forget and appear to be insincere in your networking efforts. Forgetting a name can seem like you don’t care or that you view the other person and unimportant – two ways to guarantee someone having a negative reaction or response to your attempts at connecting. In fact, another Dale Carnegie principle is to “remember that a persona’s name is that that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” If you struggle with this, let us know – we have a course designed just for this concept on how to never forget a name.
Tell us – have you taken a Dale Carnegie course? If so, what are some of the tips and trainings you have learned that have made you a better networker?
Kevin Daum’s 12 Networking Etiquette Rules can be found here: http://www.businessinsider.com/networking-etiquette-rules-you-must-follow-2014-11
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