LNCtips.com: Smart, Dumb Networking
Dumb Ways to Network
Networking is a powerful tool for independent legal nurse consultants to find potential clients. Unfortunately, networking is not a skill that many nurses use in their day-to-day care of patients. Consequently, some new LNCs are ineffective at networking. Here are some ineffective things to do when at a networking meeting:
* Go to a networking event with a friend. You'll stay in your comfort zone with your friend instead of meeting new people.
* Sit with friends or co-workers at the meeting. There's that comfort zone again.
* Have no business cards. This tells others that you're not serious about your business.
* Have business cards with information crossed out or other information hand-written on the card. This looks sloppy. Would you give a report with mistakes or handwritten comments to an attorney?
Ramble when you're asked what you do. This isn't the time to talk about your life history.
* Fail to ask others about themselves. You'll be seen as egotistic if you only talk about yourself.
* Have a limp handshake. A limp handshake implies distrust in the business world.
Smart Ways to Network
Networking is a bit like a job interview that occurs in a social setting. Here are some effective things to do when networking:
* Go to networking events alone. This will force you to meet new people.
* Shake others' hands firmly while looking them in the eye. This implies trust, sincerity and self confidence.
* Have a 30-second commercial prepared. Thirty seconds is about the right amount of time to explain what you do. If your prospect wants more information, he or she will ask for it.
* Circulate. Try to meet as many people as you reasonably can. If there are tables at the meeting, try approaching one with empty seats and ask the others sitting at the table, "Do you mind if I join you?"
* Ask others about their work and listen to their responses. Take the time to have a genuine conversation. If you can find a commonality (e.g., same school, same hometown, etc.), you'll make a personal connection that's lasting.
* Bring business cards. Ask for business cards from others and they will likely ask you for yours.