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Turn Old-Fashioned Networking Skills into Updated Social Strategies

If you’re reading this then most likely you are working in, or possibly interested in employment in the hospitality industry.  And even though the rest of the world seems to be changing faster than Superman in a phone booth, there is one constant we still find in most aspects of hospitality:  it remains a customer service-driven people industry.   And if you are among the millions who are currently suffering from screen addiction being that your head is always leaning in the direction of your preferred electronic device du jour, then you might just have forgotten how to participate in customer service-driven activities because well, for the most part, they all involve talking to people.  Having actual conversations.  Live and in person, oh my!

So, the question now is, are you game?  Can you do it?  Can you remember what mom taught you involving those basic skills of proper manners and can you transfer ‘all that stuff’ (cue mom rolling her eyes) into a successful and savvy social networking strategy in today’s workforce?  I have faith in you and want to help, so let’s review some basics.

First comes your personal introduction.  The one you will need about a million times during your lifetime that sets the tone for whatever lies ahead.  Want to make a bad first impression on a potential business associate?  Make sure to enter the room while talking on the phone (loudly, too, so everyone can hear the details!) or continue to tap out another message because we all need to know how important and busy you are, right?

Getting down to the brass tacks, the basic skill to remember here are eye contact, a firm handshake, speak clearly and make sure whatever you say is meaningful and directed to the person you are meeting, not your electronic device.  Start with your name and title or what you do/why you’re there then let your intro go organically after that.

After you’ve chatted a bit you might notice a family photo or dog friendly mug on someone’s desk.  Now is the time share similar photos so go ahead and whip out your smart phone as an ice breaker.  See, we’ve just brought that intro into an updated socially appropriate networking tool that you might be comfortable with!  (Just please remember to put it away after sharing those photos . . .)

Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP

Terry has a long history as a successful meeting planner, and was among the first to become Certified in 1987. Her TML Services Group client list includes a variety of corporate, association and incentive programs held all over the globe  Additionally, her alter ego is that of a writer focusing on industry trends and tips, and you’ll find her published in multiple trade magazines including this one. Watch for writing updates via her blog, Terry is also the author of the newly released book Meetings Mayhem! which is a fun look at the chaos behind the scenes with meetings and events, now available wherever books are sold.