Proper Networking Etiquette

It goes without saying, “First Impressions can be Lasting Impressions.”. “People will only do business with those they like and trust.” “You must earn respect and trust before you can build a strong relationship. ” “Do onto others as you would like done to you.” Although these are age old cliches, in the business world, these are tips and strong advice that professionals can live by.

In regards to networking, etiquette is extremely important in the way business is conducted. It is a credibility factor that can be leveraged to gain new business, meet people and excel in networking endeavors. Soft skills are many times overlooked or disregarded as important because people do not tend to see the value in it. But in sales, customer service, marketing and advertising many of the key selling points involve similar aspects of soft skills and etiquette. These aspects include, paying attention to detail, knowing your customer/clients needs, offering value and quality products, listening to your customers, clients or colleagues and offering solutions, following up and showing appreciation for loyalty and support.

How can professionals use etiquette as a skill in networking to build relationships and grow their business or meet their professional needs? How can business people make a great impression that will lead to referrals and promotions? How can professionals use different aspects of networking to polish their professional approach?

While meeting and connecting with others at events, the way that professionals introduce themselves and start conversation is very crucial. Professionals should not intrude or barge into a conversation. Instead they should wait until they are ushered into the group or conversation. It is helpful to step back or hang around and be included into the group instead of pushing or intruding. And when a person is invited into the circle or group, make sure to introduce themselves properly or give a quick 30 second speech. At this point, it is not appropriate to pass out business cards. A person should take the time to get to know their counterparts and their businesses. Then, if that professional feels a connection or has interest in the other person, that would be the appropriate time to exchange business cards.

During conversation, make sure that you are paying attention to what is being said. Focus on the nature and direction of the conversation. Always try to make comments and suggestions that support the present conversation or ideas that are being presented. Changing the subject or focusing on your personal interests can be a quick turn off to your business counterparts. Also, people will appreciate someone that is attentive and listens to others. While speaking in the conversation, exercise patience by waiting for others to finish speaking and avoiding cutting people off or interrupting.

These types of etiquette and soft skills while networking can greatly impact your professional and social image. It will give professionals a clear edge or advantage which will make them attractive for business and relationship building.