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butN user guide: Individual members

butN is the ultimate Networking tool for those taking business trips. However, butN can also be used by business professionals living or working in the same geographical location and wishing to meet potential contacts staying in hotels close to their home or workplace.

Before you begin using butN for business networking make sure that your profile is complete and you have uploaded a recent natural photo of yourself.

Step one: making contact

butN lets you know what other members are closest to you. You can view their picture and read their profile. If you have any available time send them a contact request. If these respond positively then you can chat online in order to discuss meeting up.

Tips

  • Keep your introduction simple

  • Do not be too ambitious. Be mindful of your own standing in the world at large. You might be senior in your own organization, but far less important in a global business environment. If you want to meet only VP’s and are not at least at such a seniority level yourself then you might find that such high-powered people are too much in demand to meet you unless you can help them with one of their “pain points”. If you are a senior executive please remember that the junior executive of today could well be the business leader of tomorrow.

  • Do not rely too much on titles. Some organisations give away big job titles very readily, whilst in other organization being called a “manager” is a big deal.

  • Do not stick to people in your own field. Look for people with other backgrounds too. Be adventurous and discover contacts from other cultures. Research their company and country before meeting them and then indicate you know something about their job and way of life. But be careful not to mention sensitive historical, political or religious events.

  • If the person you are making contact with agrees to chat online remember they are likely to be a busy person like you.

  • If possible, identify a good initial reason for making contact – such as you have a friend in common, you work in the same sector or have worked in their country. The more senior the person you are seeking to contact the more persuasive the reason will need to be.

  • If your purpose for networking is that you are looking for the next job be very circumspect about your motives. Desperate job hunters can be spotted very easily and are a “turn off” to potential networking contacts.

  • Agree on the level of formality - stay formal until this point. Remember that in many cultures formality is expected during business meetings or until both parties know each other well.

  • Try to meet locally – such as in the same hotel

  • Do not lock your new contact into a big time commitment or agree a venue in a bar unless you know the other person drinks alcohol. The safest place is usually a café – especially a well known chain.

Step 2: Meeting up for the first time

The value of butN is that even before you make contact it is possible to see where the other person is right now - using the GPS or manual location facility - or is going to be using their personal schedule. It is therefore possible to fix up an immediate meeting, or a planned meeting when your paths cross in the future.

Tips

  • Before the meeting freshen up. Take a shower, do not overdo the deodorant, but take your breath mints with you. Networking – particularly one-to-one – can be difficult if you still have the garlic from fast food pizza on your breath.

  • Always meet your business contact in a public place and stick to the time you both agreed. If you are going to be more than five minutes late let them know.

  • Exchange business cards as early as possible. Remember that in some cultures - such as Japan - business relations are not considered serious unless credentials are confirmed from the outset.

  • Be as empathic as possible, do not rush the other person or try too hard to impress. Also avoid any aggressive or overenthusiastic behaviour. Listen as well as talk. Remember, if you make someone feel good about themselves they will usually feel good about you, provided you are genuine and do not falsely flatter. Too much modesty can also be a conversation killer.

  • Be a giver, not a taker. Effective networking begins with a positive move from one of the parties. Take an interest in the other person and see if you can help them in some way – even if it is only sending them a helpful article you have read.

  • Do not use a person’s name too frequently in conversation as this can be seen as patronizing. Remember to demonstrate you have been listening by referring to what your contact mentioned earlier and be sure to ask for advice as most people love to give it. Watch your body language and physical proximity – especially if the other person is the opposite gender.

  • Never share a car with the person you meet through butN – apart from perhaps a taxi

  • Gather a few memorable facts about the other person to help you recall them in the future. After your meet-up write these into the notes section under the individual’s profile

  • Never overstay your welcome. Gauge how long the meeting should take. If conversation lags say your goodbyes and depart on as friendly terms as possible. Remember, you can end the meeting at any time. It is a good idea to have an exit strategy in your mind from the outset.

Step 3: After the meeting

After every reciprocal contact has been made butN will ask when you next log on if you did make contact and met. You will then be given the opportunity to decide if you would like to leave them as a contact or make your presence in butN invisible to them. This reminder only applies to the last person you contacted – so be sure to visit all your recent contacts to assess each one and leave notes about them

Tips

  • Keep notes within the butN memo box to remind you about the person when you are next in contact. These should be both personal and business-related.

  • Whether you enjoyed the meeting or found it disappointing always follow it up with a “thank you” note through the butN chat facility.

  • Although it may not be immediately apparent how your new contact could help you professionally let your mind work on the conversation. An idea could present itself that could change your business or future career.

  • Consider whether your new business contact might usefully also network with other colleagues or contacts you have. If so, think of possible ways for them to network via butN.

Step 4: Meeting established contacts

The butN system will indicate when an established contact is in your vicinity. You can also use butN to arrange meetings at particular locations.

Tips

  • Begin by reminding the contact when and where you last met (this can be traced in butN). Also indicate that you remember some things about them. But be sensitive to the possibility that their circumstance may have changed.

  • Think of ways in which you can advance the business relationship. Mention ideas that have come to you since the last meeting

  • Be aware that your established contact may have time pressures and deadlines that will prevent them from meeting you. That does not mean that they wish to end or diminish your business relationship.

  • Consider how your business relationship may be changing. It may move towards that of customer-client, potential work colleague, personal friendship, mentoring or even mutual intimacy. These are not exclusive roles, but they may have wider practical or ethical implications. butN is a business networking tool – so try to focus on its principal purpose

  • If there is a possible business opportunity for your company seek to involve a colleague by signing them up to butN and involving them in a follow up online chat or meeting.

Step 5: Arranging events

You can also utilize butN to arrange events involving more than one other person. This could be at your hotel or an outside location such as a restaurant or your local office premises.

  • Setting up an event through butN could not be easier. Just post the event online and be sure to include time, place and a description of its nature. The event could simply be an invitation to meet in a bar or eaterie and it could be posted within a few hours of the meet-up. Other people can sign up or turn up and there is a separate facility to communicate with participants – without the necessity to make them normal butN contacts.

  • If your hotel or airline is a butN affiliate it can also arrange meetings. Make sure everyone on the same business trip downloads the butN App (when launched) using the facility on the hotel reception desk or airline check-in desk.

  • Remember that butN events can take all forms – from a simple drink at the bar to an impromptu conference - to even sharing a trip to a local tourist attraction, concert, golf club, sporting venue or exhibition. However, the same safeguards should apply as with any meeting arranged through butN.

    butN Limited / FedEE Services Limited: 24th September 2014.

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