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Business Etiquette in Networking – remember the fundamentals
Fri 20 April 2012
With the use of social media platforms, like Twitter and Linked In, we have found ourselves pushing the boundaries of what’s appropriate in a business environment. What’s important is that we must recognise that although these platforms help us to network and do business more easily, in some cases more effectively, we must not forget that etiquette still exists and still matters.
My blog this week is going to outline some simple tips that will help you to remember that networking might be moving with the times but it still requires good manners and courteous behaviour in order to succeed.
Emails, texts, facebooking, tweeting are all good ways to communicate but they’ll never carry as much as meaning or thoughtfulness as a written thank you note. The act of putting pen to paper and writing a note makes a lasting impression that a mention on Twitter or a Facebook wall post can’t ever compete with.
If you’re visiting clients or meeting new business partners attained through your networking efforts—take the time to write a thank you note afterwards. It’s not only polite but it will differentiate yourself from anyone else that person may have met with, remembering you and thinking your well mannered in one fell swoop.
Know everyone’s Names
Nobody likes a creep but unfortunately sometimes the way to get to the top is to impress the top. Networking meetings may mean that you only have to schmooze with one representative of a company you want to impress. However, if you get as far as meeting other people from the team then be sure to research them and be aware of their names. We spend too much of our time these days looking up and impressing senior management. But it's worth stepping back, acknowledging and getting to know all of the integral people who work hard to make your business run.
Remember the 'Elevator Rule'
If you’ve put in the hard work at your networking meeting and impressed enough to meet with a potential client or business partner off site, be careful not to throw away all your efforts at the very last minute. Be very careful not to discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you're walking out of the building. This rule applies even If you’re colleagues are the only people in the elevator.
Step away from the Smartphone
It's so easy to be distracted these days – as a species we seem to be becoming distracted beings in general. We have a number of appliances and communication devices to keep us occupied all day everyday; emails, phone calls, texts, social media mentions…. come through to our phones, laptops and ipads in a constant stream. We all feel like we have to juggle real life and our electronic lives to prevent ourselves from drowning. However this isn’t quite the case. Juggling technology while attempting to have a conversation with someone can very often appear rude and unprofessional.
If you really want to impress someone and make them feel like you’re really listening – then turn off your phone and emails. Pay attention in meetings, networking events and be the only person in the room not fiddling around with their blackberry – you’ll get noticed for it.