Dwayne Hirsch, an entrepreneur with a background in real estate and finance, industries that required him to “go out, network, and meet people in order to gain contacts, leads, and have any value,” and his partner, Fuzzy Dixon, have developed a winning networking platform with Business Spotlight Networking events.
Founded in 2009, the Business Spotlight Networking events utilize a talk show format to introduce new businesses to the greater entrepreneurial community each Tuesday night at Red Kiva in Chicago. –zondra hughes
Here, Hirsch shares his golden rules of networking.
1. Dress appropriately. “For men, be professionally dressed, even if [the event] is business casual. Even if he has a business where casual is the order of the day, he should still dress up to meet people and take advantage of opportunities with people who are dressed a little differently.”
“For women, she has a business, and she’s very astute at discussing her business, but she has a problem with being taken seriously by the men who are in the room [if she is scantily dressed]. And the women will look at her sideways because they feel as if she is coming out to pick up men instead of talk effectively about her business.”
2. Come prepared to conduct business, not to enjoy happy hour. “Don’t get drunk at the event. I’ve seen people at networking events talking about what they do in their business with slurred speech and rocking instead of standing. I’ve seen people fall out of chairs because they were drunk.”
3. Know the type of event you’re attending. Is it an after-work mixer or a networking event?
“Look for keywords, and, if they are promoting the deejay heavily, then I know it’s more of a party.
The deejay is not the central focus of a networking event. Also, look at the history of the organization that’s giving the event and the event’s location.”
4. Research your new connections before handing over your contacts. “Keep up layers of protection. Ask more questions about the other person. When you ask someone more questions, you disarm them from focusing on you, what you’ve got and what you’re doing. So if he can answer questions about himself effectively, then maybe it does make sense to invite him to an event at another venue.”
5. Expand your horizon. “I go to networking events with people who are doing global trade. I’ve been to medical conferences and web conferences. When I meet a person, I’m looking for the connection between myself and that area of business.”
Go in and find great contacts for the things that you need, not only from the participants, but also from the people who are in their networks.
Cross-pollinate. Every contact matters.