The 3 R’s of the little red schoolhouse are
reading ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.
The 3 R’s of the little red networker are
research, reach out and rehearse.
The smart networker knows that the right preparation will make the difference between wasting your time or making successful connections. Whether you’re going to a casual meeting over coffee or a national conference with thousands of attendees, use our 3 R’s before every event and all your networking experiences will earn you big gold stars.
1. Research. Research the organization, their programs, membership criteria and board of directors. Review the event attendees, speakers and sponsors. Compare these results to your list of key targets. Check LinkedIn profiles and compile a list of mutual contacts. The more you know about an event, an organization and the people who will be there, the smarter you’ll be at working the room.
2. Reach Out. Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to take action. Reach out directly to your priority targets. Try to land a brief phone call or email exchange and make specific plans to meet at the event. It is also wise to reach out to the mutual contacts you found in your research, and ask them to make warm introductions to your targets. By making these connections before the event, you’ll have a more meaningful and productive interaction when you meet in person. (You’ll also avoid that awkward stalking step).
3. Rehearse. Meryl Streep didn’t win all those Oscards(r) by winging it. Practice your pitch in advance. Rehearse in front of a mirror, record your voice, or make a video. Be aware of your body language (fidgeters, this means you!), remove filler words (um, like, you know), and avoid overloading your pitch with technical jargon. Get comfortable with the language so that you are confident and relaxed without sounding rehearsed. Practice with a friend or colleague who can offer constructive criticism.
Bonus Tip: Hire a Fireball to be your networking and presentation coach. Preferably one of our Fireballs.