Before you’re scooped up in the rush of holiday preparations and parties, I encourage you to remember your “best practices” for networking so you close the year strong and start 2020 with confidence.
We don’t have a lot of rules at RGA meetings and socials, but there are a few things that make our interactions more effective and enjoyable.
DO use these Networking Best Practices
- Arrive early. This gives you time to network before the meeting, and ensures you won’t feel rushed when you arrive. Besides, we all want to see you and chat!
- Network with newbies! Or at least people who are new to you! That’s why we’re here. If you see someone who isn’t engaged in conversation, start one! People new to RGA or just to that chapter will welcome your greeting.
- Be mindful of our time limits. We want everyone to have a chance to introduce him/herself, answer our Question of the Day, share networking news, or present our program.
- Be attentive to our program speakers. They’ve spent time crafting their message just for us, and welcome our questions, too!
- Schedule MOMs and DADs. Meetings Outside the Meeting and Discussions After Dinner give you a chance to meet one-on-one with other RGA members, learn what makes them tick, and learn how to spot good referrals for them.
- Participate! We have over 20 meetings in the Tampa Bay area every week, usually at breakfast or lunch time. You’re not locked into just attending our “home” chapter. Visit other groups and expand your network! Join in when we have After Hours Mixers or special events like our Summer Business Expo and our upcoming Merry & Bright holiday kick-off party.
- Follow up. When you meet someone new at a meeting, or have a MOM or DAD, drop a quick email or leave a voice message that thank the person for his/her time. If you happen to have a referral to share, so much the better!
- SHARE your network! Invite guests who could use the kind of encouragement we find in RGA.
Sometimes what we don’t do is just as important as the things we encourage you to do.
DON’T cross these Networking Best Practices lines
- Arrive late. This disrupts whatever the team leader has planned for the meeting, especially if you try to get someone to “fill you in” on what you’ve missed.
- Talk on your cell phone or read/send text messages. This is your time to build relationships and gather knowledge within RGA. Leave the distractions behind for an hour and be attentive to the people who are around you. The one thing you don’t want is to give the impression that the people you’re with are unimportant!
- Skip out on your presentation. Our team leaders work hard to schedule interesting programs for each meeting. If you’re regarded highly enough to invited to speak, do not leave the team leader (and all the members) hanging by not showing up.
- Stand up your MOM and DAD contacts. We’re all busy; we all have too much to do. But if someone has made time to get to know you, to help you with his or her contacts, you need to be respectful of that effort.
Follow these guidelines, and you’re sure to have a rewarding and enriching RGA experience!