It is common, that at one point in your professional career, you will be required to attend a networking event. Whether attendance at the event is to strengthen your skills or to help you land a new position, it’s important to make a lasting impression with whomever you meet. Check out some of our tips to help you stand out and make an impression while you network.
It’s easy to succumb to the urge to show up later to avoid being the first to arrive. In fact, showing up early will allow you to enter into a calmer atmosphere and find other attendees that haven’t settled into groups yet. Use this opportunity to connect with other people that have arrived alone.
Don’t linger around and wait for others to approach you. The people at the event are all attending for similar reasons, don’t be afraid to approach other attendees and start a conversation. Simply ask to join others or ask what they are hoping to gain out of attending the event.
Share Your Passion
Again, though there are attendees at the event who share a similar interest, it’s always beneficial to share your personal interests and passions. Talking about topics of what you enjoy is contagious, this can open up the floor for others to share. By making the conversation a memorable one, you never know who will know of opportunities that could be best suited for you and your growing career.
Avoid Selling Your “Product”
Keep in mind that networking events are for building relationships. Unless asked in detail, avoid selling products or services to the person within minutes of meeting them. Building the relationship should be prioritized, focus on getting the conversation going.
On the occasion that your conversation partner is interested in your product or service, be ready to give a simple explanation. In addition to preparing your summary, think of any accomplishments or projects that you’ve completed for easy references when asked.
Listen & Learn
Do your best to focus on others during a conversation. The best networkers are those who are able to lead conversations and those who have the ability to make others feel special. Look others in the eye, take note of names and professions, and suggest other topics to discuss. Don’t hijack the conversation, be a conversationalist!
Stay in touch with the attendees you made a connection with at the networking event. Add your new contact on professional social networks such as LinkedIn or swap contact information. Get in touch in the next few days (we suggest a 48-hour window) to suggest your interest or reference something you’ve spoken about to help conversation partner remember who you are.