I was at a show for startup businesses a couple of weeks ago in London. Taking a break from the stand I joined some fellow exhibitors for lunch. At one point we were interrupted by the arrival of a shadowy figure who walked up to the table and - without a word - dropped a single business card into the centre of the table then walked on to the next table.
Now, I could probably write a whole blog post just discussing his method of approaching us, but let's look at his business card...
At a recent workshop I ran, one of the attendees asked whether networking works.
I know people in business who swear by the power of networking meetings in growing their business. I also know people who swear just at the thought of going networking. The reality is that for some people it works, and for others it doesn't.
It's a little like Schrodinger's cat. Schrodinger imagined a thought experiment that goes as follows: imagine a cat in a sealed box. In the box there is also a piece of radioactive material that is decaying and will ultimately kill the cat (remember - this is an imaginary cat, not a real one!). How do you know the cat whether the cat is alive or dead? You can't know until you open the box.
At a networking breakfast this morning I told the group at my table a short story about one of my clients. Like many professionals, he hates to sell. I observed one of his sales meetings, at his invitation, and I was shocked to see him go all the way through flawlessly, explaining his unique value propositions, clearly differentiating himself from his competitors, and using all the NLP skills I'd taught him to get the prospect to the brink of signing, and then he opened his mouth and uttered that awful, awful phrase "well, I expect you want to take this all away and think about it".
It's perhaps ironic that in a world where technology helps us to communicate faster and more directly with those around us, the same technology often sets up barriers that make us feel more isolated than ever before.
Personally, I’m not sure how useful Facebook is for brand building. On the face of it, it seems a good idea: constant contact, regular updates from your colleagues and clients, an easy mechanism for getting news to people, etc. In practice things aren’t quite so clear cut, and I’m yet to be convinced. However, if you do want to use it for professional networking here are six tips for keeping a ‘clean’ profile