Ok I admit it, there is no Professor TEGEF, it is just a little memory jogger. These six simple rules , picked up from others, have helped me feel comfortable when face-to-face networking (with the ultimate long-term goal of generating leads). If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope there might be something in here for you.
T – Two Ears One Mouth : Use them in that proportion. You’ll want to get your own message heard, however, by listening more than talking, you understand the other persons, objectives, ideas and passions. Then you’ll get a feeling for which themes to pursue, and how to “frame” your words so they make maximum sense to the other person.
E – Elevator Pitch : The elevator pitch is not where you try to explain everything you do. It’s an opening gambit to generate interest. A conversation starter. Keep it short, and if the other person says “oh – how do you do that?” – it lets you fill in the blanks naturally. Let the other person do theirs first. You can then flex yours to make it more relevant to them. Be prepared to change our elevator pitch. Even now I occasionally get people looking at me like a dog that’s been shown a card trick after I answer the question “what do you do ?”
G – Get THEIR Business Card : I think it’s possible to be obsessed about business cards as in this great scene from the film American Psycho. The most important thing by far is NOT to hand out your card, it is to get the OTHER persons. You then have the ability to follow up. If they don’t have one, write their email address on the back of one of yours.
E – Exit Gracefully : It’s very easy to get involved in a chat which eats up a load of time, and so try to allow just enough to establish rapport and if the conversaton is lasting too long, you owe it to yourself AND the other person to create space for more interactions with others – “.. Lord Charles it’s been great chatting but I’m going to give us both the chance to mingle a bit more, rest assured I will drop you an email”
F – Follow Up : What is the point in networking unless you follow-up appropriately. It might just be a “Great to meet you”, or maybe the suggestion of a mutual coffee. I often do this even if there is no obvious opportunity, as I’m a strong believer in the secondary network (see next)
S – Secondary Network – Even if you have no obvious shared agenda with the other person, always bear in mind that you may be able to hook each other up with OTHER members of your mutual network. I think karma will ultimately reign. See more about the secondary network here.
T wo Ears One Mouth
E levator Pitch
G et their Card
E xit Gracefully
F ollow Up
S econdary Network