Expert Commentary: Networking, A Social Art

Less than a month away, on February 18th, there will be a very special event taking place at the Executive Inn Rivermont. It is Junior League of Owensboro’s annual Charity Ball. I hear it will be a “funkadelic” night. Not only is this a great event to attend to “give back” to the community, but also a great time to network.

Networking is the social art of meaningful mixing. Social events like the Charity Ball, provide great opportunity to make new friends as well as find clients or broaden career horizons. To some this kind of things seems to comes naturally, and to others, makes them queasy. Knowing a system for networking makes you feel much more comfortable at these events.

Start preparing before the event takes place. Do your homework, find out what companies will be there and who will be representing them. Make sure you read some recent articles about their business so you can keep up in their conversation. Also, have a game plan on how to approach them and different topics that you can talk about.

At the function, employ good eye contact and a strong handshake. Describe what you do clearly and always have a business card handy just in case. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so ask a lot of questions and listen with interest. If name tags are present at this event, make sure your name tag is correct and visible. Name tags should be placed on the right shoulder. Practice remembering other’s names by using the power of three. Repeat the name three times in a sentence, “Hello Bill. It’s nice to finally meet you Bill. Tell me, what is it you do at the car lot these days Bill?” Everyone is impressed with someone that can remember names. Last, don’t sit down. The best way to feel lonely and out of place is by separating yourself from the rest of the group. Besides, how can you circulate if you are seated?

After the function, or even when you get out to your car, jot down names you want to remember and the subjects you talked about. Take time to make notes. Was there any information that you promised to send to anyone? Write follow up letters or make phone calls to people you met. Remind them of who you are and certain things that you talked about with them. Any useful event should lead to other things.

These events are great to attend for whatever reason; to help raise money for the community, for networking opportunity, to meet new people, or just to have a fun night out. If you would like to get prepared for a event in your area. I have a dining etiquette class on Feb. 25th and March 4th at the Owensboro Country Club. For more information, contact me at 270-683-3466 or e-mail