Networking events are a great opportunity to get out there and showcase who you. They can also be an unnecessary cause of stress. You may be nervous about meeting new people, awkward silencies, if your credentials are good enough or if you’ll be leaving with no new connections or opportunities.
Don’t fret! Think about how the event will benefit you and your professional career. Below are a10 tips that will help you make the most of your next professional networking event.
Tip #1 – Set An Objective
What is your primary reason for attending the event? Is it to meet new people in a field you are interested in or is it to find a job opportunity? Setting a goal prior to the event will give you something to work towards when you arrive.
Tip #2 – Research Who Will Be Attending
Review the RSVP list prior to the event. This is a great way to become familiar with the names of those you’d like to speak with.
Tip #3 – Practice Your Introduction
Prepare a short intro about yourself with your most interesting experiences. A great way to use your elevator speech you’ve worked so hard on! Also, think of some engaging questions that will help you begin a conversation with other attendees.
Tip #4 – Hand Out Your Card
After making a connection, be sure to provide them with one of your business cards. If you receive one in return, be sure to confirm the best means of getting in contact. Some people love a phone call, while others prefer email.
Tip #5 – Take Notes
Write yourself a note on the back of the card you receive. This will help you remember what you had discussed.
Tip #6 – Ask Questions
Be sure to ask thoughtful questions and pay close attention to the response you receive.
Tip #7 – Keep It Moving
Don’t spend too much time with one person. To help move on, suggest a follow-up meeting such as lunch, coffee or a phone call. This will give you an opportunity to speak again at a later date and to also take advantage of meeting others at the event.
Tip #8 – Follow Up After The Event
Preferably within 72 hours or less you should send an email or a LinkedIn message telling the person you met that you enjoyed meeting them and refer to a topic you discussed, when appropriate. This is also a great time to ask for a follow-up meeting!
Tip #9 – Connect
Be sure to connect with the individuals you had met. LinkedIn is a great place to do so. You can also consider setting up a Google News Alert for companies that you want to follow. You’ll receive email alerts anytime the company is mentioned in the news.
Tip #10 – Recap!
Reflect on the event you attended. Did you achieve the goals you had set out for yourself? What were some of your most successful moments? What areas do you feel you need to work on? Take what you’ve learned and you’ll be even more successful at the next networking event you attend!