Lessons from the cocktail table (2.0) – Dena’s First Five Networking Notes

Oh man, you guys. I need some help. Take a look at the number of business cards I have to sort…

I almost put one of mine in the picture “Where’s Waldo” style, but then I figured live.from.oc readers probably have better things to do than squint and look for the UCI logo!

I’ve learned in almost-6-months on the job that it’s one thing to go out and talk to people and tell them I work at UCI (while subtly mentioning that our students make awesome interns and employees)…It is another thing to stay on top of all my new connections! Since I’m charged with meeting and keeping in touch with lots of people, I’ve had to change some of my habits (and make some new ones), and I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned over the last few months.

  • Nametags are there for a reason. I don’t hesitate to talk about them and tell someone “Oh, I’m just looking at your nametag so I can get your name down.”  There is no shame in that…at least, not where I’m from!  In fact, I would argue that it’s better to acknowledge the fact that you are looking at their nametag instead of letting them think you are just staring blankly at their torso. Though, that’s just me.
  • Business cards usually have room for notes (thank goodness), so we don’t have to remember every detail ourselves. I usually scratch something about where we met, what we talked about, and whether or not I said I would follow-up with them.
  • If I don’t recall someone who says they’ve met me before, I usually (politely) ask “can you remind me where we met?” So far, this has never resulted in me getting slapped, and it’s a lot less uncomfortable than pretending like I do remember. Usually, people answer the question and I say “Oh, thank you for reminding me. Now I remember.” And then we move on, happily ever after.
  • Putting the cards that need immediate follow-up on my keyboard means I HAVE to look at them.
  • Emails are the best method for follow-up because A) I have a record of it, B) I can be clear and careful with my wording and C) my email signature has a link to live.from.oc D) the recipient can (hopefully) keep my note on file and reply when it works best for them

I’ll be sure to add more suggestions as they come to me. It feels like getting good in this area up may be an ongoing process for me, I’ll keep you updated. And, as always, see you out there!

-DBO

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