I went to a networking event last week where there was the
promise of a free social media presentation, cocktails and appetizers, so I
joined a pal for a road trip down to fog-enshrouded South San Francisco. The social
media guy jumped around the stage for 45 minutes.
He is supposedly an expert, and people scribbled frantically to document his every word and were eager to download his presentation which pretty much said nothing. This is not a criticism of him–it’s his business to entice people, not give away all of his secrets.
While I did meet a couple of people with whom I’m following
up, the big takeaway for me was something that had nothing to do with the subject
matter or traditional networking dogma. My friends know that I love clothes and
have a special affinity for scarves and shawls. The truth is that I don’t think
I’ve ever met a scarf I didn’t love. I was bundled up in a pashmina shawl
because those meeting rooms are always the temperature of a meat locker. One
man came over to me and said, “That’s a beautiful pashmina you are wearing”. I
was utterly and completely charmed. The fact that he knew it was a pashmina shawl–not just any old scarf–just
knocked my socks off.
This was a simple little lesson that demonstrates the impact
of a compliment. This never gets old or goes out of style. This is also a very
effective networking strategy: I am never going to forget this guy.