March '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 2 0 M A R C H P R I N T W E A R 3 9 JUST SAY NO Some things will not be for you. If an offer doesn't feel right, or if it doesn't lead in the direction you want to go, just decline politely, without anger or apologizing; just say no. Same with opinions that aren't your own. No one is required to agree with someone else if they don't actually hold the same opinion. Women are often conditioned to be people pleasers, but a networking event isn't a place for that. Don't let the discussion become a conflict, but don't feel bad for wanting what you want or thinking what you think. Just say a firm no and let that be the end of it. THINK OF IT AS BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP, NOT A TRANSACTION For some, networking is uncomfortable because it feels like a quid pro quo situation. You do something for me, and I'll do something for you. Keep in mind that the goal of building a network is creating a nucleus of sup- port and building connections that you can access again and again, not just once. So, yes, you're connecting with someone because you think they can help you in some way and that you can help them, but it doesn't have to be a onetime deal. While you don't have to be besties with everyone in your network, the goal is to make connec- tions with people you can like and respect and who will remain in your network for years to come. GO BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE Keep in mind that the goal of networking is to create a broad-based network. Make sure you step beyond your industry, colleagues, or friends to meet people from other groups or industries. Encountering new opinions, new techniques, and new knowledge can only make you and your network stronger. FOLLOW UP AND NURTURE Networking doesn't end once the event you're attending is over. Make sure to follow up with those you talked to at the event. It could be by email or with a handwritten thank you note or telephone call, but touch base and cement the connection further. Also make sure you follow up on any tasks you may have set for yourself during your conversation. If you promised information or samples, make sure those go out. And don't just touch base to cement the connection or to complete a task. Once someone is in your network, make sure you touch base regularly just to keep the connection vibrant and vital. No one likes to be ap- proached simply when the other party wants something. PW Kristine Shreve is the director of marketing for EnMart and parent company Ensign Emblem. She developed and writes the EnMart EmbroideryTalk Blog at and the SubliStuff blog at She addition- ally maintains the EnMart Twitter feed ( and Facebook page ( Reach her by email at

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