Here are five networking tips that have helped me achieve my objectives and maximise my time at networking events; they can do the same for you.
Meeting the host and other guests ahead of time might be a terrific way to feel more comfortable. Of course, this isn’t always feasible. In such a circumstance, it might be helpful to hear people’s experiences with comparable situations. As a result, you’ll be ready to take advantage of any openings that present themselves.
The second most important thing to figure out is why you want to go to the event in the first place. Usually, you behave in order to achieve anything in particular. If you’re here to make business connections, for instance, you probably won’t spend time on someone who isn’t interested in what you have to offer.
Keep a balance between expanding your network and consolidating it
You may divide the individuals you meet at a networking event into two groups: those you already know and those you will be meeting for the first time. Finding a happy medium between the two is ideal; use the event to catch up with folks you already know, particularly if there are people you recognise but haven’t come to know very well while also actively searching out new connections.
The focus should be on the second option: quickly reconnect and, if necessary (or desired), exchange information that will enable you to catch up in the future. Then, remember that the point of going to a networking event is to meet new people and make new connections, so give that your whole attention.
If you spend the whole time with individuals, you already know well, you may lose out on meeting someone new who may become an important contact in the future. This is because meeting new people is much simpler at a special event than it is at the office.
Work on your introduction
Preparation and practise equal confidence, so planning for how you’ll approach discussions at a networking event may help you feel more at ease talking to new people, even if the prospect of doing so gives you goosebumps. Realize that even the most confident people, the ones who make small talk seem like eating from an endless social buffet, have moments of uncertainty.
Follow these five steps to introduce yourself perfectly.
- Don’t make it complicated. Keep it simple. For e.g.: ‘Hi, I’m Mike.’ Also, allow them to introduce themselves. Shake hands and use polite phrase like ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you’.
- To get comfortable, focus on shared interest. This will keep them engaged in the conversation.
- Be very specific in answering the question. When you are asked a question about yourself, try answering in more than 1, but maximum up to 3 facts. For instance, if you are asked what you do for living? Say ‘I recently graduated from XXX university and now I am working full time as an accountant.’ This will allow them a window to ask a follow up question.
- Don’t try to sell yourself. Just have a normal and natural conversation at the event.
- Relax and do not hesitate to start talking to a completely new person. They might be your potential lead.
Keep brushing up your conversation skills
Don’t forget that the point of a discussion is to, well, have a talk. What you say in the discussion should lead to a two-way exchange of ideas in which everyone involved has an opportunity to contribute and benefit. Avoid using closed questions such as those requiring Yes/No as an answer. Instead, ask questions that are open end.
Follow up on your new connections
Don’t forget to follow up once you’ve exchanged contact information. Take their information and have them wait for your follow up rather than the other way around. Doing so will allow you to maintain command of your following round of conversation. If you want people to forget about you, though, it can’t be too late for you to follow up. Since you are in charge, it is your responsibility to follow up.
Meeting new people, expanding your professional network, gaining insight from your peers, and making a good impression on future employers are all possible via networking events. Following the tips, I believe you will be better equipped to network successfully next time you attend such an event.