Talking to People About Your Business: Remembering Names, Acting Like the Host

On 3/14, Tanya Smith and Tai Goodwin interviewed me on their BlogTalk Radio show, Your First 20 Clients for a segment, How to Talk to Strangers (and Friends) About Your New Business.

This blog post is the fifth in a series based on that show (I’m transcribing it one question at a time).

Today’s question is from 22:43 to 26:48 in the hour-long audio of the show.

Tanya: What’s some other etiquette that people can use when networking?

Diane: Well, I won’t speak to the social networking side, because I’m sure you guys have probably covered that a lot. Or, that could be a whole ‘nuther topic by itself.

But, when you’re face-to-face networking, again, it’s going to sound like a broken record, but the most important thing to do is to be present and LISTEN, to not just wait for your turn to talk.  When you’re talking with a person, they need to be the most important thing. You can’t be looking over their shoulder, looking for better prospects, because that just leaves a bad feeling, if they know you’re just killing time with them.

Listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk.

One way that you can impress people very easily is if you can remember their names.  There are some things that you can do to help you with that. One is again, if you are paying attention—you’ve probably heard it said also to use their name as soon as possible after you hear it.

You have to be careful though not to overdo it, because there’s nothing, Tai, like my saying your name over and over again, is there, Tai? What do you think, Tai? (laughter)

Tai: I think you’re trying to hypnotize me!

Diane:  Yeah, but, I’m very impressed when people remember my name, so I have done a lot of things to try to help myself remember names.  Even people you that wouldn’t think you really need to remember their names . . . I go to a meeting once a month on Mondays—I was just at the meeting this morning—at a restaurant in Eden Prairie.  And the waiter there, the first time I met him, I found out his name was Julio. So, when I came the next time, I said something and used his name.  (note:  during the interview I forgot to mention that I had written Julio’s name in a notebook and reviewed it prior to the meeting).

He almost looked shocked because he, of course, did not remember my name, but that I remembered a waiter’s name.  He has given me really good service because I remembered his name.

But, that’s not the reason. You can just make people feel so good by remembering their names.  And, for example, if you are going to an event or even a recurring event, and you have some kind of attendee list or roster or you’ve talked to the host so you know who’s coming—you can study that list and know those names, that will help you connect really quickly.

Study an attendee list or roster to learn names quickly.

Talk about having good networking etiquette—if you can pretend that you are the host of the event, even though you’re not, and think about introducing people to one another, making sure you know where the food and restrooms are and being a connector, like a host would at a party—that is very good networking etiquette.

Act like the host, even if you’re not.

Other things . . . you would not want to eat or drink too much.  This is always tricky for me because I really like to eat and they always have such good things at networking events.  But, have you ever tried juggling your drink, your plate of food, business cards, a pen?  It just doesn’t work very well.

So, if your main point in going to a networking event is networking, you probably don’t want to eat much at all just so you can have your hands free to shake hands, to exchange cards, etc.  Plus, it’s kind of hard to talk when you’re eating.  Although, you can listen when you’re eating.  That’s a good technique if you need to listen when you’re eating.

Are you going to a networking event to eat or to network?

Let’s see what else . . .

Be careful about monopolizing other people’s time at a networking event.  Probably . . . although rules can be always broken . . . probably not more than about 10 minutes per person in general if you want to meet a few people.


Diane’s previous post on how to remembering names

Diane’s book, Small Talk, Big Results:  Chit Chat Your Way to Success!


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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