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Etiquette suitable for networks

It goes without saying that “first impressions can be lasting impressions.” “People will only do business with those they like and trust.” “You have to earn respect and trust before you can build a strong relationship.” “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” Although these are old clichés, in the business world, this is sound advice that professionals can follow.

When it comes to networking, etiquette is extremely important in the way business is conducted. It’s a credibility factor that can be leveraged to get new business, meet people, and excel in networking efforts. Soft skills are often overlooked or dismissed as important because people tend not to see the value in them. But in sales, customer service, marketing, and advertising, many of the key selling points involve similar aspects of soft skills and etiquette. These aspects include paying attention to detail, knowing the needs of your customer/customers, offering value and quality products, listening to your customers, clients or colleagues and offering solutions, following up and showing appreciation for loyalty and support.

How can professionals use etiquette as a networking skill to build relationships and grow their business or fulfill their professional needs? How can employers make a great impression that leads to referrals and promotions? How can professionals use different aspects of networking to hone their professional approach?

When meeting and connecting with others at events, the way professionals introduce themselves and start the conversation matters a lot. Professionals should not intrude or interrupt a conversation. Instead, they should wait until they are introduced to the group or conversation. It helps to step back or stay and be included in the group rather than push or intrude. And when someone is invited into the circle or group, be sure to introduce yourself properly or give a quick 30-second speech. At this point, it is not appropriate to hand out business cards. A person should take the time to get to know their counterparts and their business. So if that professional feels a connection or has an interest in the other person, that would be the appropriate time to exchange business cards.

During the conversation, be sure to pay attention to what is being said. Focus on the nature and direction of the conversation. Always try to make comments and suggestions that support the current conversation or the ideas being presented. Changing the subject or focusing on your personal interests can quickly put off your business counterparts. Also, people will appreciate someone who is attentive and listens to others. While speaking in conversation, be patient while waiting for others to finish speaking and avoid cutting or interrupting people.

These types of etiquette and soft networking skills can have a huge impact on your professional and social image. It will give professionals a clear advantage that will make them attractive for business and relationship building.

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