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BEYOND THE BUSINESS CARD To make the most of a networking event, take along a buddy, use social media, ask questions and listen.

Meet the Buyers was held Oct. 22 in Bethlehem.

If you’ve been to a networking event in the Lehigh Valley, you’ve probably met Murtaza Jaffer, one of two brothers who owns Express Business Center in Trexlertown.

If you’ve been to a networking event in the Lehigh Valley, you’ve probably met Murtaza Jaffer, one of two brothers who owns Express Business Center in Trexlertown.

Recognized by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce as the 2010 Networker of the Year – and a regular at many Lehigh Valley events – Jaffer is well known and well-liked in the business community.

The irony is that he, and other seasoned networkers, have the same advice when it comes to the centerpiece of many networking events – business cards. Jaffer may make a living printing them, but he doesn’t abuse them.

“They’re a good tool,” he said. But he cautions networkers shouldn’t just hand cards out like machines.

“That’s not networking,” Jaffer said. “You can’t gain anything this way.”

But you can gain plenty at network events such as an expo, luncheon or awards ceremony. To do so, dress to impress, employ the buddy system, be a good listener – and exchange business cards wisely.

You could be well on your way to building a sincere relationship, which is what true networking is all about. Mind your networking manners and you can build a team of people and resources that you can help and that can help you.

That journey is the basis of a new book – “21 Days to Success through Networking: The Life and Times of Gnik Rowten” – by Ron Sukenick.

While minding the Ps and Qs of an individual networking event, the author poses the process of learning to network as a journey. The lead character in his book learns lessons on networking through a series of short stories and individual networking encounters.

Sukenick likened the value of networking to another story, “The Wizard of Oz.”

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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