Well, whether it's April Fool's Day or any day, no one wants to look foolish when they are networking. Yet, there are so many things we say and do (and don't say and do) when we are networking that can make us look less than stellar.
So, how can we avoid "playing the networking fool?"
Follow some of this great advice from author, social networking and branding expert Thom Singer in his list of "66 Tips for Better Networking." There's everything from the basics — smiling, getting "out there" and saying "thank-you"— to the more advanced techniques and strategies like referral partners, building your brand and having the right mindset. Two of my favorites are:
"Tip #29 "Hey" Many of us become uncomfortable reaching out to people that we've lost contact with — perhaps we feel guilty about not staying in touch or we just don't know what to say. Whatever the reason, get over it! Send out an email to say hello and that you've been thinking of them. Ask them to let you know what they've been up to lately. This will usually prompt a reply and can even lead to business opportunities and referrals. Don't wait for the other person to make the first move — take action and say "hey!" today.
Tip #57 Keep it Short Be brief when writing or speaking. You will make a bigger impact on other people when you keep your thoughts and ideas concise. This shows them that you are confident in your convictions and that you respect their time. It will also give them the opportunity to join in the conversation."
There are lots more gems on the list and putting any one of the tips into practice will put you well on your way to building a successful, thriving network!