Top Three Rules of Successful Networking
Rule Number One: Must Have Clean Humor
Networking. This will either sound exciting to you or send a shudder up your spine. Whether you are a spouse wondering what in the world you are going to talk about at the next office get together outside of business or wondering how you can stand out in the crowd of other entrepreneurs, here are Rules to Successful Networking that may help smooth your nerves.
Nothing says stay away from me faster than a bad, tasteless joke, or worse, to have someone remember you for the wrong reasons. It is hard to find clean jokes to make everyone smile and for darn sure have someone else remember you as they repeat a clean joke when they get home or at the office the next day to get a few laughs.
So when "Want to hear a dirty joke?" has everyone leaning in.... say,
"Actually, I do have one (Dramatic pause or have everyone lean in....)
"White horse.....fell in the mud......and got dirty! Argh. Argh. Say "Oh yes, you are groaning, but I'll bet you'll find yourself repeating it somewhere down the line!"
Laugh or Groan. Hey, someone will fall for this joke. Okay, Okay, you'll just have to know your audience, but when it was my job a long time ago to find good, clean jokes I really, really found out how hard it was to FIND a good, clean joke. At networking events, you'll have only a few minutes and all heads turn when you hear laughter, right? Here are my two top clean jokes, that I bet you'll repeat at least once!
Best Clean Joke
The local sheriff was looking for a deputy, so a young woman, went in to try out for the job.
"Okay," the sheriff drawled. "What is 1 and 1?"
"Eleven," she replied.
The sheriff thought to himself, "That's not what I meant, but she's right."
"What two days of the week start with the letter "T"?"
"Today and tomorrow."
He was again surprised that the young woman supplied a corret answer that he had never thought of himself.
"Now, listen carefully: Who killed Abraham Lincoln?"
The young woman looked a little surprised herself, then thought really hard for a minute and finally admitted, "I don't know."
"Well, why don't you go home and work on that one for a while?"
So, the young woman wandered over to the beauty parlor, where her pals were waiting to hear the results of the interview.
The young woman was excited beyond belief. "It went great! First day on the job and I'm already working on a murder case!"
At least start the chuckling yourself. At all costs, don't do what I have done and say, "Did you hear about the young woman who ... and give away the punch line. Go ahead be bold and say a joke anyway. A clean joke. I have been saying this one since 2001, and I still have to say it slowly in order to get it right.
Second Best Clean Joke
A jock and a geek were applying for the same job. The boss said, "Boys, you need to take a test before you can get this job."
So they took the test and the next day they came back to see who the boss chose. "Well, he said, "Both of you got the same score except I'm going to choose the geek."
The jock complained, "Don't you think that's unfair, prejudice or something?"
"Well," the boss said, "Let me tell you what happened. Both of your papers were right all the way through until the last question came up, and the geek answered, "I don't know," and then when I looked at your paper, you answered,
When the chuckling subsides, say "I only have two jokes". I am always looking for another one to trade up, has anyone heard something funny lately?
Top Three Best Puns
Puns are good if your memory is not very long and you are terrible at saying story jokes. Have a couple memorized or write on your fingers or something.
Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"
Two atennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.
I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.
Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"
"How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice...Hello, my name is ..."
Bonus: So what do you say after the ice breaking jokes?
Read the newspaper, Yahoo or Att.net news headlines to get something topical. Yes, as an entrepreneur, you probably haven't watched much of the news or heard much beyond talk radio or Squakbox in the Morning, but forge ahead and climb out from under that rock.
See a recent movie. See something that has been nominated for at least a Golden Globe Award or Academy Award. These will save you time in dredging through something else in a hit or miss fashion. Time is very valuable so watch Entertainment Tonight to find out something current.
Read a book. Who has time. I know. I know. Again, preselect something from a best seller list or the bookshelves at the front of Barnes and Noble. Try something self help related to toss something edgy into the conversation. These books are good during the first quarter of the year. Larry Winget is a favorite author of mine. I have been reading the Costco Connection Book Reviews and then getting books at the library. Make a list at Barnes and Noble and then go to the library or reserve library books online to save yourself the goose chase.
Successfully Breaking the Ice
Rule Number Two: Be Interesting
To be remembered as someone who IS interesting, you'll have to BE interested in other people. Yes, it pays to have something to add to the conversation and you'll be forearmed after reading the rules of Successful Networking above. Have a few questions ready in case there is a pause in the conversation.
What keeps you occupied outside of your business? This question will help you gain common ground or something interesting to write about in your follow up note.
Have you seen any good movies lately? Did you see .....? See, this is where you will sound interesting.
That was terrible about .....Did you see it on the news this morning?
What are your thoughts on ?
and so on. Getting other people to talk about themselves and their interests ultimately makes you more interesting.
Your mission: look in the newspaper, look at your local networking clubs and go make some new clients, friends or even dates! You don't have to be a Toastmaster to feel comfortable in new environments.
Oh, and one more thing a Bonus Rule. Keep your nails nice. Keep your nails nice. Whether handing your business card over to your next big client or holding a drink (preferably soda), you'll be sending a message that you think about yourself as much as you'll care about them as an account.
Rule Number Three: Remember Names
Actually, Rule Number Three: Remember Names should be Rule Number One. Remembering names is crucial. Asking for a business card. Ask how they spell it. Except for the easy, easy names. Try "Is that Linda with an "i" or a "y"? Making up a rhyme, word association, movie association, actor association. Be deliberate and really slow to repeat their names in your head or at least in re-working the introduction. "My pleasure to meet you, Linda". You'll already be thinking of your next question, so please think slowly on remembering someone's name. As crazy as it sounds, try saying "Linda, Linda, Banana Fanna Bo Binda Fee Fi Bo Binda, Linda" (ahem, in your head, please). Anything works. ;You'll surely brighten someone's day and impress them with your Savant-mindedness. Don't use this if you wind up saying "My pleasure to meet you, BInda"? or worse "Bimba".