So you have an event coming up (like our Etiquette Dinner!) that relies heavily on speed networking—and while you’ve heard of networking, you have very little information as to what this entails. Not to worry, this post will cover everything you need to know to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
1. Be Genuine
While it may seem like networking events are about the number of people that you speak with, quality truly does matter more than quantity in this case. As you and the professionals that you network with will inevitably talk to several people throughout the course of event, it is crucial to have memorable conversations and one surefire way to do this is by being genuine. To do this, try asking about meaningful experiences in their career, find out why they are passionate about what they do, and look for a way to connect this to something that you are passionate about. At the end of the event, not only will you have learned some valuable information, but the people that you spoke to are much more likely to remember your conversations.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Put Yourself Out There
Remember that the people you are networking with have chosen to be here for a reason and they want to get to know you. While you could wait for them to come talk to you, you’ll be far more successful if you make the first move and introduce yourself. By doing this, you not only show them that you are interested in making the connection, but that you’re a go-getter type of person who they would benefit from knowing. Along these lines, get to know them, but also don’t forget to talk about yourself, your interests, and your passions. The professionals that you speak with want to know why they should keep in contact with you and what you’d be able to do for them and vice versa.
3. Advice is a Good Thing
Asking for advice may appear to be unprofessional or sort of a networking fauxpas, however it is actually one of the best ways to connect with someone. By asking what advice a professional has for you, you not only demonstrate that you value their expertise, but are able to learn some key tips for success. To switch it up and make your conversations more unique, you could even ask what is one thing that they wish someone would have told them at your age.
4. Remember to Keep in Contact
As you are bound to have great conversations with important people, it is crucial to stay in contact with each professional after the event. To do this, at the end of the conversation, ask for their business card and make sure to follow up promptly with an email that demonstrates how beneficial talking to them was and thanks them for their time. Beyond this, remember that just because you follow up after the event does not mean that if you email them asking for internship opportunities six months later, you will get a response. In order to make the most of networking, be sure to stay in contact with the people you meet and ask for an informational interview or to meet for coffee.
5. Be Present
One of the most important things that you can do at these events is to really be present for every conversation that you have. As you are bound to talk to a large number of people, it is important to be able to remember each conversation that you have. Additionally, you don’t want the people that you network with to think that you’d rather be speaking with someone else. Therefore, make sure that your full attention is given to whoever you may be talking to and that it appears as though there is nowhere that you’d rather be.
With these five tips, you’re sure to make a memorable impression on each person you network with. Whether you talk to two people or ten, by following this list, you will successfully grow your professional network and will undoubtedly make lasting connections that will help you in your career.