How to Network 101 — Some Lessons learnt

John Whitehead
3 min readOct 5, 2023

How to Network 101 — Some Lessons learnt

With the pandemic behind us, many of you may be returning to networking events, to reconnect and make new connections. I have been doing just that and as I do I am reminded of a post I wrote in 2019. I thought I would reshare it wiith you as a reminder of what to be ready for…..

A typical networking interaction may go like this: “What do you do?” or “Tell me about your business.” What is your response? Are you prepared to answer in a way that will engage the asker, perhaps even to the point of persuading them to meet with you and ultimately purchase your product or service? That’s why you are there, right? To network?

Unfortunately, at most networking events I attend, the answer to that question I most often hear is, “I’m a <role> and I work for <company>”. If the person is a little more on top of it I hear “I’m <name> and I’m a <role> with <company>, we do <brief description of what company does/offers>”.

I don’t consider myself as an expert in networking. However, when I look at the numerous “courses” and workshops that are currently available and are designed to help people with networking, it seems to me that I have learned just as much from simply being an active, engaged networker. Over the past several years I have gained as much experience and knowledge as most of these so-called experts.

Here some of the things I have learned:

· Have your business card ready. You would be surprised at how many people I meet at networking events who don’t have a card with them.

· Attend with intent. Know why you are there! If your intention is to meet with the most people you possibly can, perhaps your real intent is to raise your profile, so have something to use to achieve that. If your intention is to set future meetings to provide a more in-depth presentation on your service or product, be ready for that.

· Be prepared, be proactive.

· Approach others; don’t wait for them to approach you.

· Be ready with a solid opening question — practice it.

· Instead of asking, “What do you do?” ask “What brings you to this event tonight?” Then follow up with a question that would…

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John Whitehead

A Certified Executive Coach (PCC) engaging Executives, Business owners, HR professionals, Managers and individuals in Leadership & Personal Development.