The etiquette of effective post-pandemic networking

Now that more traditional networking is happening again, some of you—OK, some of us—have been out of practice when it comes to effectively networking.

Because connections are key to our community of sharing in life, and business, it is important we get back in the groove as quickly, and confidently, as possible.

Since there’s no time like the present, here are seven savvy steps to super networking:

Do RSVP before the deadline so the hosts know who, and how many, to expect as they plan for food, drink, space and more, and do go with the theme of an event and respect the requests for colors, attire and other ideas to make the party or activity most effective.

Don’t act like being there is a favor to someone else because you are “so busy.” Leave the “busy” mindset at home, or work, and go for being present for the host, the guests and the entire experience. Don’t skip the event if you have a “bad day;” rather, honor your word and honor the host by being there and being glad to be a part of the activity/celebration or launch.

Do arrive early, or on-time, and check out the guest list and name tags. Wear your own name tag on the right side of your body, in between your collar bone and breastbone. If you write a name tag, make your first name large and legible. Skip not wearing a nametag or putting the nametag on the left or lower on your body. If there are lanyards, tie them in the back to bring your nametag up close to your face, as nobody enjoys looking down at your belly to read your name. When people shake your hand, they look up to your face and having the nametag there assists others in remembering your name.

Eat food standing still and dispose of the plate and cutlery. Then walk around with a drink in your left hand, even if you are right-handed, as you shake hands with your right hand and don’t want it wet.

Do use hashtags for the event that are shared and requested for use, and get permission from those in photos to post, rather than surprising them with what looks like a photo bomb or closed eyes.

Do introduce others by acknowledging the highest-ranking person first by saying “Name, please meet name” instead of saying, “I am so excited for you two to meet” or “I want you to meet.” Follow that quick introduction of first and last name with a comment about each person to connect them. An example could be “Sharon Smith, please meet Joaquin Ruiz. Sharon is the CEO of XYZ Company and Joaquin is an excellent facilitator of change management, so you two likely have a lot in common!”

Do leave while you are still having fun and do leave with grace. When talking in a group, exit by saying something like “Thank you for spending a few minutes with me.” And, if it is appropriate, “let’s please exchange cards for connecting later.” Present your card between your thumb and index finger to the other person for them to see it clearly (instead of handing it to them with your thumb over a big part of the card). And, when you leave the event, do thank the host and then send a thank you note to the host that week to reinforce the good time and your gratitude.

Since networking is connecting, doing it well and with joy and professionalism, can not only make the events fun, and worthwhile, but effective networking can enhance your business and your brand, so enjoy it all … as we get back in practice.

Debbie Lundberg is the founder and CEO of the Florida-based firm, Presenting Powerfully. She is a 12-time published author, certified virtual presenter, certified life coach, certified leadership coach and certified image consultant. She co-hosts the Business Of Life Master Class podcast. Her book, Remote Work Rockstar, has become a guide for working and leading virtually.

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