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  • Writer's pictureDr. Clinton Lee

Networking Etiquette: Making Genuine Connections at Business Events

Networking in the first quarter of the 21st century has many connotations. To the IT specialists and industry, networking is the important cog that encompasses both hardware and software aspects, vital to building a computer network that is resilient, sustainable, and scalable. They formulate specific processes that guide them towards success. IT professionals do not call their systems etiquette. They refer to them as protocols, obligatory to success and not negotiable.

What does Networking Etiquette and IT have in common?

The fundamental success of networking in the world of global commerce should be no different than if a process is being followed. Business professionals, entrepreneurs and investors also seek the elusive network that is resilient, sustainable and scalable. Follow the IT industry and have a process, success should then be assured many say, but it is not and why not we must ask. What is the reason? The fault lies with the fact, either no systematic process is applied, or a flawed process is being practised.

Don’t make these Networking Etiquette Mistakes

Often, we see hordes of hopefuls attack each networking event with gusto and determination hoping to:

  1. Present the perfect personae that makes them sought after.

  2. Deliver the ultimate predator introduction that announces their position, status, and alleged usefulness and why others would be foolish not to connect with them.

  3. Connect with others highlighting their personal achievements in their company.

They all hope this archaic style will deliver them success, but the approach is redundant, and its lack of sustainable success is evidence of this. Ask yourself, how many truly deep and lasting business relationships can you recall that have truly lasted? Momentarily, certainly some, but everlasting, few and scarce.

Follow these 4 Networking Etiquette Tips

In my experience and opinion, to be successful and develop genuine connections at business networking events you:

  1. Do not expect to meet everyone, so prioritise who you must meet. It's not the numbers but the quality.

  2. Need to understand the cultural environment you are in and approach accordingly with the correct etiquette. Business networking in Asia is based on deep relationships that can require a lengthy period to develop. Western networking tends to be significantly different with the emphasis on “time is money” approach and “it's not personal just business” style.

  3. Establish the appropriate style for the environment you are in, and this requires you to improvise, innovate and adapt.

  4. Realise that different generations interact according to their generational norms and values which may be different to yours.

Next time you’re at a networking event, give this process a try.

Follow this 5-step Networking Etiquette process.

  1. Establish your personal expectations.

  2. Learn about the cultural background of the person you are meeting.

  3. Be aware of their generational norms and values.

  4. Discover a common interest you both have.

  5. Leave the meeting where both of you have a definitive reason to connect again.

Adopting this 5-step process increases your possibilities significantly. By not following this systematic approach you might well join the ranks of the defeated and heartbroken. Many hotel hallways, convention salons and meetings rooms are strewn with the ghostly heaps of failure and scattered holes of disappointment.

Whether you are that early morning, blurry eyed gladiatorial businessperson, manifesting to yourself, this is the “way” or perhaps that weary executive attending an evening networking event camouflaged as a soiree, adapt or stare defeat continuously. Remember the correct networking etiquette to use can only be perfected once you have that 5-step process in place.

Etiquette is reflective of the situation and environment.

Etiquette evolves with life situations and reflects society.

If you want to learn more about etiquette, I have a private one-on-one consultation that you can book to chat with me and ask specific scenarios and questions that pertain uniquely to you.


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