Jacquie Bushell, Residential Mortgage Specialist with Oriana Financial
Annie Gélinas-Olive, owner and healing practitioner with Let’s Talk… Coaching & Energy Healing

Both Jacquie and Annie are part of the Marketing and Communications Committee (M&C) and strutted their stuff at a WBN breakfast on how to utilize your networking skills, both in person and online.

First off, no matter if you are in person or on social media, there are a few universal rules to good networking.

Does and don’ts of networking:

  • Just like dating, don’t give your number out right away. Wait for the person to ask for it.
  • Don’t be too “easy” or overly eager. Slow down, take the time to get to know each other.
  • Chatting too much? It’s not all about you, share the conversation.
  • Be curious, find things in common.
  • Don’t talk about your ex, for example what you don’t do or previous bad experiences.
  • Always keep it positive. No one likes a Debbie Downer.
  • Be aware of personal boundaries. Don’t get in someone’s face, we mean space.
  • Relax, have fun, be in the moment. Remember you’re getting to know each other not getting married.
  • Humour always saves the date.

Social networking

When it comes to the various social media platforms, this is how we see them.

Twitter is like speed dating: Be brief and to the point. If you can, be humorous. When those three fail, use photos.

Facebook is like a cocktail party: You share a bit more information but you’ll still want to be at your best. You need to ask questions. Include photos or even videos in your conversations to attract more interest. Again, remember this is professional networking so — keep it professional.

LinkedIn is like a business luncheon: It’s a little more serious, you’re surrounded by professionals and you’re giving professional advice. It’s not the place to share your fun weekend with the kids, unless it links to your key message. Use your filter.

Instagram is like Tinder: It’s a faster way to speed date/network. It’s more about speed browsing than dating or networking really. It’s about being a voyeur, seeing what’s out there and promoting the visual of your business. Swipe left or right?

Face-to-face networking

In person networking, such as at a WBN breakfast, is like going on a blind date. It can be uncomfortable and foreign. Will I meet someone? Will she like me? Will I like her? Will we have things in common? Will we see each other again? How do I let her down gently?

The follow up after making a connection on your first date is critical but again, can feel awkward. You think, “Let’s go on a second date,” and as you reach for that business card to make the call so many things run through your mind.

Are we going to be a good fit?
Are we going to be compatible?
Will our businesses align? If so, how?
Do we see this moving forward?
What have I learned from the experience?

Yes networking can be scary, but if we didn’t dare, think about what you could be missing out on.

Celebrate the fact that you took the time, made the effort and put yourself out there to grow your network. With every call and meeting you book, it gets a little easier — just like with dating.

Is there someone you’d like to date? Are they a part of a WBN committee? Join a committee and get to know who’s out there.