I came up with the phrase, “It’s Not Net-Sit or Net-Eat — It’s Called Network” back in 1985 when I went to a business mixer and witnessed virtually every person either sitting along the edges of the room or standing around eating and drinking. There was almost no one who was actually networking. It struck me like a bolt of lightning that this was supposed to be a “networking” event, but people were just eating and drinking (especially the latter)! As a result, before the first mixer that I personally organized, I went to a printer and had my new phrase printed up on little signs and put them all around the room to remind people why they were there.
I also came up with the original version of the 10 Commandments of Networking which I printed and posted around the room at that event.
The 10 Commandments of Networking
- Always have the tools to network with you (business cards, name badge, etc.).
- Set a goal for the number of people you will meet.
- Act like a host, rather than acting like a guest.
- Listen to people and ask questions about what they do.
- Don’t try to sell to them.
- Give referrals whenever possible.
- Exchange business cards.
- Manage your time efficiently.
- Write notes about your conversation.
- Follow up!
The last thing I did before the event got fully underway was to tell everyone that it’s ok to come to a networking event with someone you know or a co-worker; just don’t hang around with that person the whole time.
What a difference in networking events! By just giving a little guidance to the participants, the event was much more successful than the ones I’d seen in the past. So GET UP, get off your phones, and network!