How To Make Every Event A Networking Success!
Your palms are sweating and your stomach is in knots. You’re walking into a networking event and you know absolutely no one. No worries, we’ve got you covered! Calm down, take a breath and follow these tips to successfully navigate through the intimidating affair they call networking.
It’s the time of year to throw yourself out there, land interviews and attend networking events! As skilled and experienced networkers, we know that it can be intimidating at times but the truth is…you will survive and believe it or not, you will have fun!
Before the event
1. Do your homework!
Research any people or companies you are interested in speaking with at the event so you know their background and can impress them will polished answers to any questions they may have.
2. Practice your 60-second “elevator pitch.”
Keep it short and sweet, but don’t be afraid to get creative! Practice makes perfect, and you surely want your first impression on other professionals in your field to be as close to perfect as possible!
3. Create a plan.
Route out who you want to speak with and for how long, so you can spend your time efficiently and not wander around the venue looking lost or confused.
4. Dress appropriately.
You only get one chance at a first impression!
5. Arrive early.
Arrive early to give yourself enough time to get to the correct venue and park. As they say, if you’re not early, you’re late.
During the event
1. Go alone.
Although it is a scary moment when you walk into a venue and don’t know a single soul, the point of you attending a networking event is to meet people and create new contacts.
2. Speak with a lot of people.
Don’t cling to one person just because you are having great conversation. Politely excuse yourself and give both of you the time to speak with others.
3. Listen and ask questions.
Don’t talk about yourself and your career aspirations the entire time. Have real conversations and show a true interest in each person you speak with. Ask questions, listen, and use (appropriate) humor to leave a lasting impression on each person you speak with.
4. Break out of your comfort zone.
Talk with people or companies that you don’t know or haven’t yet spoken to. Even though talking with people you’ve met previously is the easiest approach, you are there to build your network! Break out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to new people or companies and form new relationships.
5. Be real.
Most people can spot a fake smile from miles away. Be genuine with each person you speak with and it will pay off in the end.
After the event
1. Follow up!
This is undoubtedly the most vital component of successful networking. Whether it be an email, a phone call, or a planned meeting, it’s important that you take contacts seriously and follow up when you said you were going to.
2. Keep in touch.
Make sure you continue to engage and interact with your professional connections long after the event is over.
So, go out there and network, network, network! If you start creating lasting professional relationships with the right people today, the possibilities will be endless in your future! After all, it’s usually not what you know, it’s who you know.