Networking Etiquette – Manners Matter

EtiquetteThe way that you conduct yourself at networking events can be the difference between being seen as a professional or not.  Manners matter when networking.  Some of my pointers look like “no-brainers.” However over the many years as leader of a business-to-business networking group, I can say that I’ve seen lots of folks walk through our doors that seemingly had no clue as to how they come across to others.

  • Dress for success. Simple enough however remember that others are making decisions about you within the first few minutes after they meet you.
  • Come prepared to network. Always carry plenty of business cards, a pen and pad.
  • Electronic devices. Turn off your cell phone and by all means do not text during meetings.  After all, you would never think about texting in front of your best client.  Why is your networking event any different?  It’s not.
  • Always, always, always be on time.  Would you be late to an appointment with your best client?  I don’t think so.
  • Engage and listen.  When you pay attention to what others are saying, you just might make a connection or can be put into a situation to seize an unforeseen opportunity. Like your teacher reminded you in grade school, “Johnny, stop talking and please pay attention.”
  • Create a follow-up plan.  Make sure to respond to any connections that you make within 24-48 hours.
  • Mind your manners.  Yes, remember what your Momma taught you about chewing your food with your mouth closed, no elbows on the table, don’t pick your teeth at the table and excuse yourself if you have to blow your nose!

Next time you attend a networking event, not only polish your shoes but also be cognisant of your networking etiquette because manners matter.  Basically, you want to show up and act in the way you want to be remembered–referable and professional.

Peggy Parker Edge © 2015.

Retirement: Life does not begin at retirement

“Life begins at retirement.” ~Anonymous

Recently, Wally and I were at an event with a number of folks that we have known for over 30 years but we haven’t seen any of them in a very long time.  As we renewed our acquaintances, it seemed as if the first question out of their mouth was, “Are you retired now?”

My response to one person was, “Heavens NO! I’ve actually started a second business in the last two years.”

Why is it that people automatically think that when we get to a certain age that everybody retires?  The word “retirement” is not and has never been in my vocabulary.

A better question is, “What are you up to these days?”

I sometimes feel that I have to explain myself as to why I’m still working, “at my age.”  In the era of my grandparents, my Papa closed up his shop when he turned 62, sold all his equipment, came home and sat in the rocking chair until he died there.  He had no hobbies, no outside interests or anything.  He simply rocked in that chair for years watching cars go up and down the street.

I feel like I still have lots to accomplish and lots to help mentor those individuals coming up in this world.  I guess if I wasn’t getting business and people were not hiring me, then there might be a little hint that it’s time to hang up my high-heels and suits to take up knitting.  However, until that day comes, I am still out there, doing what I thoroughly love.

Of course, I do have a very flexible schedule, don’t report to anyone except myself, and can plan my days as I see fit.  Maybe that makes a difference but I don’t really think so.  Even if you punch a time-clock 8-5 and you still enjoy what you do, keep going.

I truly do not believe that life begins at retirement.  Life begins when you are doing what you love to do, whatever that is.

Peggy P. Edge (c) 2015

Prejudice eats away at our heart and soul!

Thank you Dale Hansen, Sportscaster, WFAA-Dallas for your commentary on prejudice.

I have been so saddened and repulsed about the incidents occurring in Ferguson, Missouri and now in our own back yards of Flower Mound and McKinney.

The definition of prejudice is

Prejudice eats away at our heart and soul.  It is a learned behavior.  The definition is:  “a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”

I made a comment to a friend recently, “We have gone back in time 50 years to lose the ground that was claimed in Selma.”

I was raised in deep East Texas during the 50s where even today there is a saying, “The necks of some of the people are redder than the clay.”   I thank God that my family did not raise me that way–to be a prejudice person but to be accepting of others.

Last week having lunch with a lady in my networking group, somehow the subject came up about Chris/Caitlyn Jenner’s life choice.  We discussed some of the issues going on in our country right now with regard to discrimination, bias, judgments and perceptions of others.

I made the statement to her, “I don’t care if you are polka-dotted, pea-green-over-lavender, God made all of us.”

I don’t have to agree with or understand another person’s life style or choices. Everyone is a human being, deserving of love, compassion, and acceptance.

Why did I make this comment?  Because the Lord dictates to us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It isn’t my job to judge them.  It simply is all of our jobs to treat one another as we would want to be treated.

We are all different in one way or another.  After all, God made us the way that we are.

As a child, I had my share of kids poking fun at me because of my red hair.  I can’t tell you how many times my classmates would say, “I’d rather be dead than red on the head.”  

I know to some people that statement might seem to be nothing more than childish teasing and would say that all kids tease each other for something. However, the tongue is stronger than a two-edge sword.  I could have easily taken those words to heart and developed a chip on my shoulder for life but I didn’t.

When God gave me a red-headed son, 49 years ago today, kids would often tease him about his red hair.  I would say, “Next time they say that to you, tell them they are just jealous because you have something they don’t have.”  I don’t know if he every retorted with this comment but I wanted him to understand that he was special.

In business we talk about the fact that you only have 5 seconds to make an impression on someone when you enter a room.  This is very true.  We make judgments based upon our own life experiences and prejudices.

Diversity embraces acceptance and respect.  In William Cowper’s poem, “The Task” (1785), he says: “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”

We absolutely must teach our children that it is not okay to ostracize someone because they are different.  Teach them instead that everyone is unique. Teach them that we are special in our own rights.

When we judge folks based upon who they are, what they stand for, what they believe, or for any reason, we dilute and diminish ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau said, “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”

I’m proud of the fact that I’m different and march to the beat of my own drum.  That is what makes my friends call me “Wild Woman!”

Peg Boot in Door


Peggy P. Edge (c) 2015