Yesterday, we talked about the keys to successful networking. Today, we’re going to discuss a strategy that will help other people find you at a networking event.
Suppose you’re at a large networking event and you meet someone who works in an industry that you’re not targeting (we’ll call this person John). You decide that it’s not worth spending a lot of time talking with John, so you suggest that he talk to Amanda (whom you met earlier at the event). Amanda works in the same industry as John, and you think that it might be beneficial for the two of them to meet. So, what do you do? You probably start scanning the room, trying to find Amanda so that you can point John in her direction. The problem is, this particular event is so large that you can’t find Amanda.
What if Amanda were wearing something that made her stand out from the crowd (let’s say it’s a red shirt)? Even if you couldn’t find her, you could tell John to walk around the room and look for the lady wearing the bright yellow dress.
Now, what’s the point of this hypothetical story? When you’re networking, wear something that distinguishes you from the crowd. Not only does this make it easy for someone you met to send another person your way; it also makes you more memorable (and the benefits of being memorable are numerous).
One word of caution: Don’t wear something so unique that you look out of place. If you’re trying to sell heavy equipment, people have a predetermined notion of what a person who sells heavy equipment should look like. If you walk in with board shorts, bare feet, poorly manicured nails and Birkenstocks and you’re trying to sell someone a reengineered chiller, you may be easy to remember and easy to spot; however, you’ve got a big credibility gap to overcome.
If you’ve attended any of our in-person trainings, you would have noticed that we often provide bright magenta lanyards, which happen to be made out of recycled soda bottles. They’re very distinctive, and I often recommend that folks take them home and wear them to their next networking event, rather than using the host’s garden-variety lanyard. The great thing about wearing a brightly colored lanyard that is different from everyone else’s lanyard is that someone can point you out to a colleague from across the room, even if you’re facing away from them, since the lanyard wraps around your neck and still serves as a beacon even from the back!