A business person holding up a business card (Credit: iStock)

I was in a hotel elevator last week and struck up a conversation with two guys in suits that had travel bags. I asked if they were headed to the airport.

As it turns out, they were on their way to a meeting to speak. Naturally, I asked what they do, and they told me they’re in the financial services industry selling retirement products.

What do you think they asked me?

(Related: You and Your Elevator Speech)

“How about yourself?”

“I speak at events as well. In fact, I train financial advisors how to network and grow their business through referrals.”

“Can we have your card?”

My response. “Funny you ask! I actually teach networking skills and don’t have a card with me! I’m headed to the gym and left my cards in the room. Bad networker, huh?”

We all laughed.

They handed me their business cards and said we should absolutely talk about doing business together. Yes, an actual elevator pitch!

Takeaways:

  1. I’m a horrible networker!
  2. Strike up conversations in business environments.
  3. Ask what business people do for work. They love to share.
  4. When you ask, “What do you do?” they will almost always ask you, too!
  5. Know how to explain what you do in 17 words or less.
  6. Always have a business card with you — even when you’re off duty.
  7. Be open, engaging, and have a sense of humor.
  8. Follow up, follow up, follow up. (I already have!)

— Read 7 Business Networking Reminderson ThinkAdvisor.


Michael Goldberg (Photo: MG)

Michael Goldberg is a speaker, consultant, and the founder of Knock Out Networking. He’s also the author of “Knock-Out Networking!”