Today I'm going to give you eight tips on professional networking, so here we go. There are three main sections. I'm going to talk to you about how to prepare beforehand, how to act while you're there, and then how to follow up appropriately.
Tip number one, fresh breath. As you're preparing to go to this event, make sure you brush your teeth or have some gum. If you're coming straight from work, do some mouthwash. Do a Listerine strip. Do some gum. Whatever you gotta do. You don't want to be the person with death breath, that's the worst thing. You know what I'm talking about? It's like they were sleeping all night with their mouth open and haven't brushed their teeth in a month. You smell that person's breath and you avoid them at all costs. Don't be that person.
Tip number two. If you're a guy be sure you shave and comb your hair or freshly buzz it if you're me. Make sure you're looking good. If you're a woman that probably means brushing your hair and if you do makeup, then do makeup. But just make sure that you are presentable. We want to make sure that we are the type of person that we ourselves would want to talk to. I don't want to talk to someone who looks like they just rolled out of bed and came to this networking event. That's not an influential person to me. That's not who I'm trying to help you become. That's not who I'm trying to be. And so I want to make sure that we are the people that we want to associate with.
Tip number three, iron your clothes. Make sure your clothes look nice. I'm wearing a pressed shirt. I don't think I took it to the cleaners, actually, I just ironed it myself. Amazing thing. It's called an iron and it takes about 5 minutes per shirt. You can watch your favorite YouTube channel and iron your shirts while you're doing it, right? You can also take it to the cleaners, spend a buck, buck and a half, get your shirts pressed and you'll look nice. You want to look your best.
Tip number four, prepare an elevator pitch. Whatever it is you do, make sure that you can say it in 20 seconds or less. You don't want to drone on. You don't want to annoy people and just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah about whatever it is you do. Have an elevator pitch before you go to that networking event.
Now, what do you do when you're at the event?
Tip number five, be interesting -- over all be interesting. How do you do that? Ask questions. I got a deal with a bank doing just this. I was at an event and I just kept asking questions of the COO of the organization. I knew it was the COO I was talking with. I didn't say a thing about myself, I just kept asking questions. There were no more questions to ask and I knew one of two things was going to happen. We were going to walk away or she was going to ask me about myself. It went silent for about 10 seconds and then she said, "So tell me more about your business." And I answered those questions and within a week I sent her a proposal and within a month or two I was doing business with them. It's beautiful. Be interested in the people you're talking to.
Tip number six, I want you to think deep, not wide. Think deep, not wide. Meet two or three people. Don't give your card to 20 or 30 people. We've all seen it at every event. There's a person that walks around and shoves their card in your pocket or in your hand and sometimes it's annoying. Sometimes they even give you two, they're like, "I learned this thing..." and give you two cards. They shove these cards down your throat and it's like, look, I don't even know who you are. I have no interest in you. I'm going to throw your card out either on my way out of this place or it's going to go in my car and when I clean my car next, it's going to be thrown out because I don't even know who you are. I have no connection to you, I just have your card. No. Think deep. Think of a couple of people that you can ask questions. You can be interested in them, you can ask about what they do, you can ask follow-up questions.
Two more tips, here we go.
Tip number seven, to finish strong within 24 hours of meeting this person and having a meaningful, personal connection, going deep, not wide, connect with them on a social media platform. I recommend LinkedIn, connect with them on LinkedIn. Make that connection to solidify the connection that you had in person that day.
And then the final tip, send them an email within 24 hours referring to something that you talked about in your conversation. This might be something like "Hey, I thought of what you were saying about your business and I think 'Joe' might be a good connection for you. I want to make an introduction through email." And then you make the introduction or ask them a follow-up question or just say, "Hey, I want to thank you for your time. And it was very good to meet you. Maybe we can grab coffee."
So there are my tips for networking. It's my desire to take what I've learned from the actions, activities, and qualities of highly influential people I've met, share them with you, and help you increase your influence.
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