There has been a lot of news coverage lately relating to Arkansas realtor, Beverly Carter, who went missing after meeting someone at a property she was showing.
While showing a home may be considered part of her occupation, and not necessarily networking, the situation does beg the question “what precautions should I take when networking?”
There are a few tips that can keep you safe, if you are meeting someone you have only met online, or through a phone call:
- Always let someone know where you are going, and whom you are meeting. If possible, give them some background on the person you’re meeting with – where you met them, their phone number, any details that may help if you need to describe the person to anyone.
- Speaking of background, it’s fairly easy these days to do rudimentary background checks on people you intend to meet. You can start with the phone book, and then use some online tools such as whitepages.com, and other public information websites. Even Google can give you a lot of information if you search the person’s name. Just make sure you have the right person, before you go sharing information with others!
- Arrange to meet in a public place. A coffee shop, the library, any place where there are people around.
- Use a location-sharing app on your smartphone, such as Moby, which has the capability of tracking your current location and sharing it live.
Of course, not all of these tips will apply in all networking, or meeting, situations. Use your judgement. And if you ever feel in the slightest bit unsafe, or uneasy, leave!
Some of these suggestions may seem “silly” or over-the-top, but they could save your life. Practice safe networking!