12 P’s for productive networking

P Words

The reason why 12 laminated,  8.5″ x 11″ pieces of paper–all with one word beginning with the letter P–are hanging on a wall in a room in our career center is because I am a Procrastinator.

These 12 words are related to productive networking. Procrastinate isn’t one of them, by the way.

Had I been more diligent, I would have had a big ass poster with all these 12 P words designed and produced by a print shop. The poster I envision will hang where our networking group meets.

Tasked with the job of writing a code of conduct, I decided that simply listing words would be more effective than handing the participants a document that describes how one should act while attending the group.

A colleague and I decided that words beginning with the letter P cover a great deal of behaviors and attitudes expected from networkers. Here are the P words networkers should use while they’re networking at any networking event.

  1. Positive: How could this word not be included? Networkers, despite their feelings, should act positive, not negative. People would rather surround themselves with positive-acting folks. If you’re one who believes in self-fulfilling prophesies, this is one.
  2. Persevere: When you feel like it’s not working and are wavering between going or not going to a networking event, perseverance will urge you on. Keep attending the group until you’ve exhausted all opportunities, or landed a job!
  3. Professional: This one encompasses many other traits, but overall marks you as positive and respected by others, and speaks to how you dress and conduct yourself at an event. Great practice for the entire job search.
  4. Participate: What’s the sense of attending a networking event if you’re going to sit in a corner or leave as soon as the Leads and Needs session is over? Approach people who may be sitting by themselves, and make them feel welcome.
  5. Polite: Being polite means not interrupting others or dominating the conversations. Listen to others as good networkers would. Saying, “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” can go along well.
  6. Prepare: This word also applies to the entire job search. You must be prepared for the interview, and you must be prepared to contribute to the networking event. This means bringing your target company list and leads for others.
  7. Personal: Show your personality at a networking event but make sure it’s appropriate for the event. Be yourself, relaxed, easy to speak with, friendly. A smile goes a long way, so show your pearly whites–this shows your welcome to be approached.
  8. Present: This can include the way you dress and how you come across while delivering your elevator pitch, or simply talking to others. There are those who dress like they mean business, and others who might be in their household attire. Who’ll be taken more seriously?
  9. Punctual: Being late is rude and shows a lack of time management. Would you be late to a job interview? Then don’t show up late for the networking event.
  10. Promote: Not only should networkers promote themselves in a tactful manner; they should promote each other. When introducing a fellow networker to a member of the group, speak highly of that person.
  11. Progress: Strive for progress. This can mean setting goals to meet three new people at an event every time you go, or if you like to mingle, come away with 10 business cards.
  12. Productive: The result of all these P words. You must be productive in your networking, or, for lack of better words, it ain’t worth it.

The words that hang on the wall in our room are a great reminder of how one should conduct their organized networking. Eventually–nay, soon–I’ll get around to having them made into a stunning poster or two. I don’t want to wear the letter P on my chest for eternity; it standing for Procrastination.

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