April  2006      Vol. 15, No. 4  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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What Not to Say at Your Networking Event
Here are some tips for conversational gambits to avoid at a business networking event. Tips for much better approaches to opening conversation are also included. We hope you will put them to use at the Regional Small Business Networking Event coming to David City, Nebraska on April 22, 2006.

Networking events can be awkward – you’re in a room full of people you don’t know or don’t know well. And you’re trying your best to make a good impression in a short amount of time.

Think carefully about what you’re going to say – and what you shouldn’t say – before you ever approach anyone. You’ll make others feel welcomed and valued if you AVOID the following phrases:

“Do you remember me?” If these are the first words out of your mouth, you put the other person on the spot, and you’re likely to embarrass that person if your name doesn’t quickly come to mind.

Better: Eliminate the guess work. Simply say “I’m Monica Braun; we met at the Chamber of Commerce meeting last month.”

“Here’s my card.” The rule: Don’t give your business card to anyone who doesn’t ask for it. It’s presumptuous. Instead, ask “May I give you one of my cards?”

Even better: Say “May I have one of your cards?” That makes the person the focus of the conversation and will usually result in a request for your card.

“Are you a new member?” There’s only one feeling worse than forgetting someone: devaluing someone. Your organization, club, business, or association is bound to have at least some members you’ve never met. People come in and out of organizations, and not everyone comes to every meeting. So don’t assume people are new simply because you don’t know them.

Better: “I don’t believe we’ve met before – my name is Glennis.”

Source: Adapted from Communications Briefings, Ideas that Work, October 2005, 800.722.9921, www.briefings.com . Based originally on “Strategies for Effective Small Talk,” Scott Ginsberg, www.prcanada.ca .
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