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The three Ps of effective networking

We’re powering our way through the 10 keys to effective networking, and here are the Three Ps that will enable you to take advantage of the next networking even you attend: Plan, prepare, practice.

How do you plan for a networking event? Think about the questions you are going to ask: What do you want to know? How are you going to ask them?

You want to ask questions that cannot only carry the conversation, but can also provide the information you need.

Think about it: You are telling a story through the questions you ask. It will be obvious if you know your industry real well. So know the industry of the people that you’re talking to. Have some timely information to offer. Be flexible. Adjust to the person. Adjust to the opportunity. Adapt.

In short, be a professional.

You’re not going to get anywhere just talking about the weather. Or just talking about sports. It’s not just talking about what’s hot today. Before you go to a networking event, for one week in advance, read a couple of newspapers a day. So you’re timely. You’re well-informed, you’re showing up as someone who knows which way the wind is blowing.

Before you go to a networking event in this specific industry, read every industry publication you can, for a week in advance. Read what’s being said online, find out who the players are.

If you want to stick out, you must be relevant. Don’t go there and just be one of the many. Get out of the monkey barrel.

Plan, prepare, practice. What is it you want to know? What is it you want to ask? How are you going to be?