On October 12, LEGG (Lyons Economic Gardening Group) presented a workshop on how to comfortably optimize person-to-person communications at business and social events.
The program was designed to improve personal communication skills to aid local business people in building a network of relationships that add value and create opportunities.
The presenters were the four current members of LEGG: Rick Whitcomb, Chuck Keim, Christy Crosser and John O’Brien.
The group explored techniques and skills for making successful business contacts.
Rick kicked it off by discussing his innate unease and dislike of meeting new people in a business/social situation. In Rick’s case it is unavoidable since he is the President and CEO of a biotech start-up company in Boulder (Bioptix). He shared some of the important “tricks of the trade” he uses in meeting potential investors and networking contacts.
John O’Brien presented some of the “how to’s”, tips, and insights that are potentially useful in networking for one’s business.
Several important things to know are:
• Networking is a process with a beginning (Input), middle (Process) and end (Output).
• In the Process or Implementation stage one should remember to scan the room first and greet people you know, then get introductions to other network partners.
• Be enthusiastic.
• Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t remember someone’s name. Practice ice-breaking questions, e.g. “Do you attend this convention often?”
• Moving on is easier than most think.
• Remember LEAVE NOW:
L = Let go of your conversation partner after 5 minutes.
E = Explain what you must do. Be honest.
A = Act on your agenda
V = Volunteer a referral
E = Exit easily to another conversation by taking your partner with you.
N = Note what’s gone on between you. Sum up the conversation.
O = Outline the next step for your contact.
W = Walk. Shake hands and leave, purposefully.
Christy Crosser led the group in a business card exercise that was very useful. She outlined the do’s and don’ts of business card giving and receiving.
Chuck Keim did a great summary of the evenings tips and suggestions.
He was able to take questions and lead a very useful discussion of the more salient points. .Since everybody in business has to meet new people and talk about their business, networking is an activity that is essential to their business’ survival.