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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Handshake & A Business Card

Networking these days means different things to different age groups.  Babyboomers still think of networking as the group of people at one location who were called together because of a common interest - like a chamber of commerce meeting, professional organization, a mixer, or a group of like-minded individuals.

Gen Y (born 1970 - 2000) thinks of networking as Facebook, LinkedIn, tweet-ups and all internet based forms of "networking".

Both are valid frames of reference, but let's for the sake of this blog article look at what you can do with a handshake and a business card.

After recently attending a face-to-face networking event, I returned to my office with a handful of business cards that I had personally spent a few minutes discussing the person's business with them.  I learned a bit about what they do, what their company does, where it is located, whether it is local or international, and what benefits my organization could provide for their organization.

They in turn found out about me, what I do, what my agency does, that we are locally based with "sister" organizations located nationally, and that we have programs that could benefit their company's human resource bottom line.

Using those business cards, I will see if I am able to make a connection through the social media networking paths I use.  This has afforded me the best of both worlds of networking - on-line connections and a handshake and business card.

This method is effective not only for business and sales efforts, but for those in the job hunt.  Seek out events where you can meet individuals from a company in which you are interested.  Ask about the organization, the corporate culture, they types of career paths available, how the person likes working for the company.  If they aren't the human resources person, they may know the person.  If you make the next step to linking with your new contact on an on-line professional network, you have just established an opportunity to reach out to the human resources person.

If you would like to read more about in-person networking link here.

What form of networking do you prefer and why?

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