This short quiz will help you brush up on your networking skills without having to put on a tie or balance a drink.
1. When meeting someone at a networking event, you should start conversations with:
A. casual conversation about the weather, technology, or
your dream vacation
B. your 30-second elevator speech (see “Your 30-Second Introduction”)
C. questions about his/her career or why he/she is attending the event
2. When you have a difficult time getting a conversation started or if you are uncomfortable meeting new people, you should:
A. wait for someone to approach you to begin a conversation
B. join a small group and gently tap a person on the arm to join the conversation
C. try meeting people around the food table and talk about how great the caviar tastes
3. The best networkers are those who can:
A. ask other people interesting questions
B. talk comfortably on a wide range of topics
C. always pick up the conversation when others run out of things to say
4. The best way to show respect for what someone else is saying is to:
A. compliment him/her on what he/she has said
B. ask others to join your conversation to hear what he/she is saying
C. be a good listener, provide responsive gestures and ask good follow-up questio
5. When preparing for a networking event, you should:
A. ask the host in advance for an attendee list
B. find out what refreshments will be served, and call ahead for special dietary needs
C. identify the key sponsors of the event and learn about their business
6. When someone hands you their business card, you should:
A. stick it in your pocket
B. acknowledge it with a compliment on design or question about the person/company
C. write notes on the back to refresh your memory later
7. After you have met someone who you would like to spend more time talking to, you should:
A. suggest he/she excuse himself from the event and go to
a restaurant or other room where you can talk one-on-one
B. buddy up with this person and introduce him/her to other interesting people you have met
C. ask for his/her business card and set an date to meet for coffee or lunch
8. If you are networking and someone latches on to you and follows you everywhere, you should:
A. involve him/her in all of your conversations
B. tell him/her to get lost
C. excuse yourself from him/her, indicating that you have set a goal for yourself to meet 5 people at the event and you haven't met your goal yet
1. A. While C is appropriate after you have started a conversation, it is considered rude immediately to ask about a person's career. Begin your conversation with casual talk. It's good to have some conversations ready to go. People like to talk about their vacation, the best job they ever had, the one thing they could change about their work/career. Technology is also a good conversation starter. It's all around us: "I see you have an iPhone, what is your favorite gadget"? Learning to be a good story teller is a great way to keep the conversation going. Practice your "go to" story ahead of time. Pick a topic of interest, keep it short, and make sure it's clear and has a message. Stories should be positive, enthusiastic and not mention any names (individuals or companies), unless appropriate. And while having a great 30-second elevator speech is a must-have tool for networking, this is not the time to use it.
2. B. As children, we were all taught that we shouldn't talk to (or take candy from) a stranger. Get this out of your head! While meeting new people doesn’t appear difficult, it rarely feels that way. Anxieties, social politeness and an unwillingness to get rejected may keep you from taking the first step. These hurdles are really just excuses. There are rules we keep inside our head of when it is and isn’t appropriate to meet people. While some of these rules have some basis in reality, most of them are wrong. If you are uncomfortable networking, try this: join a small group already in conversation by gently tapping a person on the arm, offer a quick nod hello, then focus on the current speaker. They will carry the conversation and frequently introduce you to others to make you feel welcome.
3. A. Some of the best conversationalists do the least amount of talking. While B and C are also characteristics of good conversationalists, being able to draw others into the conversation is an advanced networking skill. Be curious. People like to talk about themselves and their successes. Whether it’s work achievements, their family, or sports triumphs, most people relish the opportunity to brag a bit. Let them.... no, encourage them!
4. C. Being inattentive is a common characteristic exhibited by people at networking events. Always display good eye contact with verbal and body language response. Ask good follow-up questions. Networking is more about listening than talking. While most of us are too consumed with “what am I going to say" we are not as worried about being unable to listen. Listening to someone is a form of flattery. Other body language tips to remember: avoid "room grazing", lean forward in interest, smile, nod, say "yes."
5. A. and C. If the hosts are willing to share an attendee list in advance you have a great head start! Find out who will be attending the event and identify who you would like to meet. What is the agenda? Are there sessions you should attend and can you carve out some time in between for the sole purpose of meeting people? If you can, try to schedule time with people prior to the event. Don't overlook the event sponsors as possible networking targets. Who are the key sponsors? Are there any reciprocal opportunities or reasons to meet the sponsors that may help your business?
6. B. and C. Though it may be habit to take a quick glance and put it in a pocket, it's a flattering gesture to take a moment to recognize and comment on a business card. Remember how much thought and consideration you put into the design of your card? Fortuitously, business cards also provide a great place to make a quick note about the person you've just met or to jot down the date of your upcoming breakfast meeting.
7. C. A networking event is more of a social event than pure business. Meet lots of people by spending a few minutes with each. Collect lots of business cards. It's okay to set a date for a follow up conversation or to follow up with a phone call a few days after the event.
8. C. It is easy to get stuck with someone who follows you around everywhere you go - especially if you attend an event with a colleague. At some point, find a reason to excuse yourself by explaining your goal to meet many people. Or perhaps introduce him/her to someone and then excuse yourself from their conversation. Don't let another person dominate your time at a networking event.
Andy Bluestone is a networker and relationship development strategist. He is an author of numerous articles and a new book, “Harnessing the Power of Relationships." As President and CEO of Selective Benefits Group, he has recruited more than 2,300 sales reps and is actively engaged in helping closely held companies reduce costs in their 401(k) plans and create an added value to the participants' experience in their plans.
NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.