Let's Play the Networking Game
Do you like games? Enjoy meeting new people? If not, networking isn’t going to be your forté. But don’t be discouraged, because according to business etiquette and networking consultant Johanne Hotte, most of us do not like to network. It’s awkward, embarrassing and just plain hard to do. But if you play the networking game properly, you could do wonders for your career.
Johanne Hotte’s presentation at the PMCQ January meeting proved to be quite an eye-opener. And she provoked a few guilty giggles and rib-pokes with her astute examples of clumsy networking and just plain bad manners.
How many times have you attended a PMCQ meeting with a colleague or two and stuck together like glue? That doesn’t work, claims Ms Hotte. Nothing wrong with attending together, but split up during cocktails and at the table. That way you won’t end up talking only to each other and you may make a good business contact or two.
But how do you go about meeting new people? Well, keeping in mind that most people find it difficult to do, you’ve got to step right up and introduce yourself. That’s the game. Prepare yourself with a few things to say and a stack of business cards, and then zero in on one person or a group and tell them who you are. Don’t be afraid to interrupt. In fact, with groups of people, you really have to interrupt. That’s not bad manners, it’s potentially good business.
Handshakes? Mandatory. Sweaty palms? Kleenex in your pocket. Don’t have pockets? Get some. Kissing? Hmmm… that’s a tough one, especially here in Quebec. But the number one business etiquette rule is that you never do anything to embarrass the other person. So don’t run screaming from the room if he or she leans forward for a typical Montreal two-cheek kiss. It’s not polite.
In a thoroughly engaging and informative manner, Johanne Hotte presented the do’s and don’ts of networking and business etiquette. Her lively banter and relevant anecdotes covered everything from how to handle contact follow-ups (within 48 hours) to proper business lunch behavior (stay away from the spaghetti and salads). She provided her rapt audience with the right tools and enough courage to make the next PMCQ meeting a veritable networking playground. So don’t be alarmed the next time you are tapped on the shoulder… that’ll be me with a bon mot and a fresh card. Nice to meet you.
by Rich Hammond