Networking. It’s one of those horrible businessey things that, as a writer, you might find yourself doing. Some of you will be dreading the thought, I know I was when I tried it last year. And even though I’d read a little about it, I really had no idea. My first few attempts were awful, so I’d like to share with you a few of the lessons I learnt in the form of my list of, Seven Networking Don’ts :
1. Don’t feel that you have to wear a suit. If suits make you feel uncomfortable then they’ll work against you. And if you’ve put on weight since you bought the thing, then it’s a definite no-no. Trust me on that. Be presentable but be comfortable.
2. Don’t pause for admiring ooh’s and ahh’s when you announce yourself as a writer. I caught myself doing this a few times. I looked like a dick and you will too.
3. Don’t talk yourself down. Another bad habit I hope I’ve talked myself out of. If you don’t sound like you believe in your own abilities, then how can you expect a potential client to believe in them?
4. Don’t go to one group, hand a bunch of cards out and expect the phone to start ringing. Networking is all about building relationships so expect to be involved for the long term.
5. Don’t get caught without a card just because you’re not at a scheduled event. Networking can happen anywhere, anytime. I keep a handful of cards in my wallet, just in case. You can even get mini cards from www.moo.com so there’s no excuse for not carrying a wad around with you.
6. Don’t get drunk. Many events provide drinks to promote a relaxed atmosphere. Just remember that you’re there in a professional capacity, so act accordingly.
7. Don’t sweat; it’s not the Spanish inquisition. You’re there to make friends and contacts so relax.
Networking can be a great way to build up your business, but you’ve got to stick at it. Not easy if you hate it. So come on people, what else can be done to make networking more user friendly? let us know in the comments section. Don’t be shy.