Etiquette is an entrance, or dead end, to Networking

When you were young do you know how your parents knew you were lying? Eye contact.

Eye contact is just one tool every person has at their disposal when it comes to efficient, successful networking.

Today I was fortunate enough to hear from Mrs. Kathleen Harshberger from “The Protocol School of Washington”. In her hour and a half long presentation she highlighted several methods of engagement and presence that would propel any graduate into a corporate world full of opportunities.

So do you recall the other day when you friend asked you what you got on your math test, and you said eh, a 65?  Then, after realizing they did better, you added on the limiter “but grades dont’ really matter anymore, as long as you graduate”. Well your 85% right. Did you know, based on a study by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation, and The Stanford Research Institute, that “technical skills and knowledge account for 15% of the reason you get a job, keep a job, and advance in a job. However, 85% of your job success is connected to your people skills and networking skills”?

Most avid studying aficionados can’t get past the idea that grades are not important. Now I know the few of you reading that know me well, know that in High School yeah, this was me 100%. I should assure you that while I was an avid scholar, you know right well I knew how to network.

Now that I have cleared that piece of debris out of the way, I want to continue sharing what Mrs. Harshberger shared with the attendees today.

The first time you meet someone, and each subsequent visit, it is important that you create a presence. How? Eye Contact. Entrance. Handshake. Posture. Introduction. People Skills. All of these create a presence whether you know it or not. Usually if you are aware of these fields, you recognize their importance and are therefore proficient in their application. However if you don’t know about these fields, you don’t know that you are automatically setting yourself up for a disadvantage.

One specific, eye contact is vastly important no matter what cultural setting you are networking in.  In North America, and Canada, eye contact between 40-60% of the time creates a credible scene, anything less and your perceived as sneaky, lying, and like your holding something back.

Eye contact is just one form of nonverbal communication. Do you know how much information is conveyed in a handshake? A handshake reveals and conveys endless data. In any business or networking situation, the person who extends their hand first has the advantage. In order to insure it’s you, always have your right hand free. Secondly, always hold your glass in your left hand. Why? Who wants to shake a clammy, wet right hand fresh off holding a cold beverage? What message does that immediately send to the potential “networkee”?

The handshake really is a beautiful thing if practiced correctly. For example, I am sure you all have experienced the “bone crusher” the “fingertip holder” the “two hand shake” and many other forms of the handshake. In current day business and social settings the only appropriate shake is one where your thumb is up, fingers are out, and a nice firm grasp is administered followed by 3-4 shakes.

During and after a handshake is also the appropriate time to administer an introduction. Do not place a honorific on yourself, unless the other person has. In other words do not label yourself as “It’s nice to meet you, I’m Dr. Latka”. This immediately makes the person you are introducing yourself to feel like you think you are more important than them- not the right foot to build a network on.

In many networking settings, a meal is consumed. However in 99.9% of the cases, the eating is not the main objective. Rather it is the ability to repsectfully handle yourself, manage your food/consumption, and create a natural flow of conversation at the same time. Someone lookoing to network with you can learn a great deal simply by observing you at a meal.

In the words of a fortune 500 CEO, “Eating is not an executive skill, but it is especially hard to imagine why anyone negotiating a rise to the top would consider it possible to skip mastering the very simple requirements…what else did they skip learning???”

Establish your credibility people.

Stimulus package not helping?

Some food for thought on this foggy morning:

Who needs a stimulus package to save the economy when you can network? More to come later.

Networking is Everywhere!

Did anyone catch “The Celebrity Apprentice” tonight?  Trump specifically sited the importance of networking and accreditied it as one of the main areas contributing to his success.

I came across a website today that supported my ideas with regard to networking in several aspects. The site is, and it states “Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization”. The point I want to focus on is their usage of the word “tactic”.

In my opinion, a tactic is a well planned scheme whose implementation depends on a followed procedure. However, networking is something much different. Good, and even great networkers are quick on their feet, they know to to relate to any group of people, and most importantly, they realize the mutual benefit that any such relationship can provide. In this regard, networking is not a tactic, but a skill.

Think you dont’ possess this skill? Try again! In many instances the more a person practices networking, the better they get. The first stop in networking is quite simple actually- realize its potential! Whats next?

Create a facebook to connect with friends and local networks, create a linkedIn to contact business professionals around the world, launch a website to help “market” your personality and skills, make a small, but effective, time investment with each person you see, send out a resumee with intentions that diverge from being hired, but most importantly any networking  virgin needs to realize that it’s not about who you know, but who knows you!

You may be thinking well, I don’t have time for this, I dont’ think its worth it. Let me assure you, you have time. The best networkers out there encorporate networking into their lives to the point that they dont’ even realize they are doing it! This is the point each person should seek to reach….on an ending note, remeber relationships are “the catalysts for success”, no matter what field your in!

“The World is Flat”

Rainy days are great for blogging-and reading! Have any of you ever read “The World is Flat”? If you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend it. For the purposes of this blog here is a quick summary:

The technical ability of our generation and past generations is one of the main underlying themes of the book in my opinion. In todays economy, and the clear evidence of how flat the world has become, how should people differentiate their lives to take advantage of the current setting and survive?

For myself, the current economic turmoil, and the general decay of economic confidence has motivated me to become more involved in everyday activities as well as reach out to access new ones. I recently put together a large scale Presidential Campaign at my college- designed to reach out to over 5000 students. I knew, regardless of the outcome, that this was an opportunity as much as a campaign.

This brings me to the all important, one-word, activity that will insure any person success should they pursue it actively and vigorously.

This Campaign provided me with an entrance in which I could pursue any person on campus. For example, if you were walking down the street and were pursued by someone who asked “Hey how are you?” most people would immediately see this as very creepy. However if the person approaches you and quickly establishes a motive, the door completely opens for further conversation.

I used this application about 500 times in about 6 days on the campaign trail. My goal was to get into the heads of students, understand their values, goals, and ambitions, and seek to explore how I could help them with each of these three aspects. Establishing such relationships and getting the opportunity to understand others was a key aspect in the election, and is a key aspect in our current world.

I will leave you guys with an analogy applicable to this post: Networking is like a spider spinning its web. The larger the your web, the more you catch.

-Nathan Latka