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What it Takes to be a Great Networker

By Pam Nochlin

Deborah Goldstein, Founder of The Women's Advancement Compact, moderated a panel discussion on What it Takes to Be a Great Networker. Hint: If you’re not tired when you leave, you haven’t done it right!

Deborah started the discussion by laying out her four stages of successful networking: grow, nurture, manage and leverage your network

Here are some "Do’s & Don’ts" of networking


-Set an intention beforehand such as, “I will talk to three people.”

-Ask how you can be helpful

-Go with reserve topics (read the paper and top headlines before heading out)

-Offer to do a favor (but don’t expect one in return)

-Be clear about what you want, even if you have to spell it out

-Wear your business name badge on your right side, not over your heart. It’s where someone’s eye normally lands during a handshake


-Spend time talking to the person you arrived with or those you already know

-Discount someone because they may be your junior

-Get caught checking your phone

-Start networking just because you need a job

For Introverts

-Work the perimeter….look for someone standing alone

-For women, compliment her outfit/bag, shoes, etc

-For men, ask if he’s a member of the organization

-To approach a group, practice “triangling”:lLook for a group of three, as it’s easier than breaking into two who are in conversation

-You can shine in the follow-up email you send!

To Create Instant Intimacy

-Raise subjects unrelated to work, i.e.: favorite books, where they went to high school, vacation plans, etc. Find a common interest

-Listen more than you speak

-Ask questions….people will feel your interest

Ending a Conversation

-To gracefully bring a networking conversation to a close in order to maximize your time at an event, offer to introduce the person to someone else at the event, or ask for an introduction.

You can also say:

“It’s been great meeting/talking with you but I don’t want to monopolize your time.” Or, “I promised myself I’d meet/talk with four people tonight and I still have two to go.” Or, “I’d like to get/refill my drink/get something to eat.”

Networking is Not Just For Events!

-Don’t wait for events to network….network in your own company

-Don’t waste a lunch hour alone

-When you arrange to meet someone, ask if they would like to bring a colleague. Offer to bring someone as well

-Network with people who impress and challenge you

Other Takeaways

-Know your purpose for being at a networking event

-People remember how you make them feel

-Have a high reciprocity index

-Give, Give, Give….Ask!

-If someone refers you, be sure to keep the referrer in the loop

-Heed the advice of anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who proposed that Dunbar’s Number (150) is the maximum amount of social relationships that humans can comfortably maintain.

Tools of the Trade

-Condense your business cards into a reader app: ScanBizCards

-Manage and track your relationships on

-Sharpen your networking approach by reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

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