Networking tip: Setting yourself apart
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It’s tough to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. The weather isn’t a great starting point. Neither is the food.
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Dress up. You’ll stand out — in a good way —from all the more casually dressed attendees.
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Don’t ask for an invitation when you show up at a booth. It’s one of those things that if you have to ask, you’re not going to get.
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Do what doesn’t come naturally to most people, seek out the people you don't know.
If you’re interested in an oil and gas career, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to study up on international issues.
Take careful notes of every encounter you have as you go from booth to booth, to help re-start the conversation later.
Loading yourself down with all those chip clips, thumb drives, mouse pads, stuffed animals, koozies, hats, hand-muscle exercisers and key chains sends a message that says, "not so serious."
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Do your homework: Spend some time doing research on the companies you’ve targeted. The more homework you do, the easier it is to talk.
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First impression: Don’t think of the convention as time away from the office in which you can relax and wear what you want. What you’re wearing should be forgettable.
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Don't get in the way: While many have received job offers during the Offshore Technology Conference, don't be too aggressive. It’s important to be sensitive to the sales staff's time.
Getting ready: If you’re heading to OTC, now is the time to make sure your on-line presence is in good shape.
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How to meet and greet: The key to confidently meeting and greeting people you don’t know? Practice.
Like lots of energy companies, FMC Technologies wants to stand out. So in years past it issued matching polo shirts with the company logo for its employees to wear at the Offshore Technology Conference.
But it turns out that wearing a polo shirt with a company logo isn’t exactly standing out when every other company has their own company-issued polo shirts.
This year the giant oil and gas equipment and service provider has come up with a new way of distinguishing itself from the khaki-wearing business casual crowd.
FMC is asking its employees to wear dark suits with white shirts, said David Williams, manager of talent acquisition. And for the men, put on a tie.
“We want people to recognize us for who we are,” said Williams. “We are leaders in the industry.”
So take a clue from FMC and dress up. You’ll stand out — in a good way —from all the more casually dressed attendees.
Check FuelFix daily during OTC for more networking tips from L. M. Sixel, whose weekly Working column appears in the Houston Chronicle.
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