jokerheader.gif (5284 bytes)Networking





The What and Whos

Whether it be a gathering of business associates or fundraiser, be sure to find out what the purpose of the event is, who will be there and who is sponsoring the event.

Your Attitude

Your attitude determines the outcome of most events. And a positive attitude always wins out. A little enthusiasm and a big smile go a long way.

Your Objective

What is your objective in being at the event. Perhaps you want to show support for your boss, or you want to make some new business contacts. Think this through before the event and keep this objective in mind when mingling.

Your Introduction

Prepare a brief introduction about yourself in relation to the event. It should be a few sentences that includes your name, and something about yourself that you'll want the person to remember. Humor works great here because it puts you and the person you're speaking with at ease. You'll introduce yourself differently at various functions. For example: At a cocktail party at your boss' home, you might say: Hello. My name is Sue Smith. I am a software developer. Which department do you work in? At a Home Builder's Convention, you may say: Hi. My name is Joe Smith and I'm an electrician, shocking isn't it? So people will remember you, speak slowly and clearly.


When introducing yourself, it is not only important to prepare what you will say, but to give the person you are speaking with a firm handshake. Remember to smile, while shaking the person's hand. A few words on business kisses. It is now acceptable for business people to kiss when greeting each but only outside the office and on the cheek, never on the mouth.

Chit Chat

If there is no host available to introduce you around and begin conversation, take the iniative and introduce yourself to someone. Then begin small talk. You can talk about why you are both at the event which can lead to areas of mutual interest. For example: "I was invited to this banquet by Joe in Sales. We play golf together on Saturdays. Do you play?" Other subjects to chat about include: current events, professional information, and local news, perhaps. Good eye contact is essential here.

Exchanging Business Cards

Exchanging business cards is a good way to keep in contact with a person you have met at a function. When giving out cards be sure that your name, title, company and number are legible on the card. Once you have a free minute record something on the back on their card to remember them by. Be sure to bring enough to an event and to give them out to only those who you want to keep in contact with. Take cards from only those who you want to contact again.


The Social Cocktail Party

This type of gathering may have a theme or is put on for a special holiday or occassion. If you receive a written invitation, it is polite to R.S.V.P. If there is a request for certain attire, black tie, for example, it is important to dress appropriately. The first thing you should do when you enter the party, is locate the hosts. Their function is to greet you and introduce you around. After, you should mingle with the other guests. It is bad manners to sit and talk with only one guest. Make sure you have a supply of business cards with you, even if it purely a soical gathering. Last, but certainly not least, do not forget to thank you hosts as you leave. Follow up with a written thank you within 24 hours.

The Business Cocktail Party

There are three main types of business cocktail parties. They include: the civic organization get-to-gether, for example: a Chamber of Commerce meeting, No-Host reception for a professional group and the office party. The civic organization or "after hours" party is held about one time per month. Members have the common interest in their community. The benfit of this gathering is to obtain business leads and to advertise what you do for a living. Because people do business with those they know and like this is a great place to network. No-Host receptions usually precede a business luncheon or dinner, last about an hour and include a no-host bar. This is a good place to renew acquaintenances and meet guests. Focus on business but have fun, too. If this event includes a meal,the first rule to remember is to sit with people you don't know. Introduce yourself around the table and encourage others to do the same. Dress for this event is usually business attire, but if in doubt ask someone. Though the office party may include food, drinks and music, it is still a business function. It is fine to enjoy yourself and relax but it's also important to keep in mind limits on drinking, language used, and appropriate behavior. This is a good place to thank colleagues for a job well done. While talking with co-workers don't overlook their spouses. Treat them as individuals, not just the wife or husband of so and so. Ask about their interests and converse with them as well.


The function of a fundraiser is just as the names implies - to raise funds. These monies are for the benefit of a charity or community organization. Good advice for attending these gatherings include: greet and meet those you "must see." Connect on a social basis , don't talk business. Mingle, get a business card and by all means follow up.

Political Parties

These events attract those who have a common interest in the candidate or party. Everyone who attends must donate money to be there. If you do, get a chance to meet the candidate (if the candidate does his job and works the room) say something brief and memorable.
"If you can look interested when you are bored, your social success is certain."