You have arrived at the monthly dinner meeting of HR professionals. Great! Now you have a captive audience in which to actively sell your product or service. WRONG. The purpose of the networking session before each dinner meeting is for the exchange of information among individuals – to let others know your service is available. It is not meant as a means to actively solicit business from other members.
The get together is a forum in which we introduce ourselves to others in the profession and develop business contacts for future career opportunities, discuss current events, and exchange ideas. Being able to talk freely and openly with peers is a valuable benefit to membership in GVFHRA. Yes, it may be tempting to see it as a room full of potential clients, but that is not the goal of the networking session. The main purpose of membership in our organization is to benefit from the educational opportunities provided, which includes the experiences of others in human resources. We allow time to chat with previous contacts, mentor individuals who are new to the profession, and seek the wisdom of those more experienced in the facets of human resources.
How do you network without selling? Start by planning in advance what you will say when meeting someone for the first time. When introducing yourself and your company, you can provide a brief description, such as: “Hello, I’m ABC Person, from XYZ Company that provides m&n services.” If someone is interested in more details, get a business card and make an appointment to follow-up at a later date. Remember, the sales pitch is a no-no.
As a final note: when you signed your membership application you agreed to practice and uphold the ethics of the profession and to abide by the SHRM bylaws. Refer to the last paragraph of Article III – Statement of Ethics – in section 4, page 1 of your Membership Directory. Please work with us and refrain from soliciting members.