Monday, June 18, 2012

Networking Tips for Professionals and Boutique Practices


Networking in the digital age requires professionals to utilize both traditional people skills and new online tools. At a recent networking workshop for attorneys and accountants, Don Gage, Bruce Jones, Judith Bowman, and I presented tips on time management, personal branding, etiquette, and connecting on and offline. Here is a summary of tips.


Networking Goals

Don Gage from SDI Associates started us off by emphasizing the need for setting networking goals and using your time efficiently. His tips included:
  • Know why you are going to an event before you go. Set goals and identify target contacts.
  • The follow up is crucial. Set a deadline of following up with contacts within 24 hours, and schedule another follow up call, email or meeting within a week. If you schedule these steps into your calendar, you are more likely to do it.
  • Quality is more important than quantity. Going to 2 events, meeting 5 people and following up is more effective than going to 20 events, meeting 50 people and never following up. And it is a better use of your time!

Managing Your Image

Bruce Jones from Bruce Jones Designs walked us through managing our images on and off-line. His tips included:
  • Business cards – still an important marketing tool. Make sure your card contains all of your contact info including office phone, cell phone, email, as well as LinkedIn address, blogs, and Twitter accounts.
  • Website bio pages – the most viewed sections your website. Keep your bio page up-to-date.
  • E-mail signatures – include your LinkedIn address as part of your signature. Consider adding links to new publications, events or other important news items.
  • Online profiles – set up your accounts and fill in all the boxes to complete your profiles. Be sure to keep your profiles consistent, especially your name.
Click here for a copy of Bruce’s slides.

Social Media Tools

I focused on how to use social media tools to support your networking efforts. My tips included:

Have a plan. Set goals and know why you are using social media such as to:
  • Establish thought leadership and credibility
  • Maintain current relationships
  • Establish new connections
  • Raise your visibility
  • Research people and industry trends
Select the social media sites that help you achieve your goals. See my post on Evaluating Social Media Tools.

Use social media to support your in-person networking. For example:
  • Let people know you are going to an event 
  • Research attendees before the event 
  • Connect with individuals after the event on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. 
  • Follow companies

Be social. Ways to share information include:
  • Keeping your online profiles up-to-date 
  • Posting updates, let your contacts know about new articles, speaking engagements, successes 
  • Sharing articles and news 
  • Introducing contacts

Take advantage of the new online networking opportunities:
  • Help others find you by creating and update your online profiles 
  • Search for new connections (link to other post) 
  • Follow companies 
  • Use LinkedIn’s advanced search features to develop target lists

Click here for a copy of Kirsten’s slides.

Etiquette Tips

Judith Bowman from Protocol Consultants International wrapped up the program with a hands-on demonstration of etiquette tips. Her tips for making a positive first impression included:
  • What your handshakes says about you. Use a firm, but not bone crushing, grip. Shake hands twice and let go. 
  • Name badge placement. Pin your name badge on your right shoulder so someone can see it when they shake your hand. 
  • Have a plan for business cards. Wear clothing with pockets. Keep your business cards in one pocket and put the cards you collect in another pocket. 
  • Eating and drinking doesn’t go together with networking events. It is difficult to manage a glass, a plate and to shake hands and pass out business cards at the same time. If you do have a drink, hold it in your left hand and keep your right free to shake hands.

Click here for to order a copy of Judith’s book, Don’t Take the Last Donut.


PANELISTS:
Donald P. Gage, D.Mn., CAGS, President, SDI Associates, time management and business development consultant
Contact: 508-877-9890, don@sdiResults.com

·      Bruce Jones, President of Bruce Jones Design Inc, business graphic designer, author, social media consultant and video producer
Contact: 781-255-7171, bruce@bjdesign.com

·      Kirsten Lovett, Project Manager, Marketing and Social Media Consultant,
Contact: 617-755-6764, klovett@kirstenlovett.com,

·      Judith Bowman, President and CEO, Protocol Consultants International
Contact: 401-934-0100
Website: www.protocolconsultants.com


EVENT SPONSORS:
The Law Offices of M. Robinson & Company, Solutions for Business and Tax Problems
And
Eastern Bank

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