Five tips that will take you from a networking newbie to a networking Rockstar.
1. Do your research
Make sure that you do your research on the event that you are attending. Check out the organizer’s website and make sure that you know what they are all about. Most events require you to pre-register; the benefit about this is that you get to see who else will be attending and who you would like to meet.
Five things you should research before you attend an event:
· Who are the event organizers?
· What future event is the organizer’s hosting?
· Dress or theme
· Start time and stop time
2. Remember your business card
Business cards are the easiest way to get someone contact information and to give them yours, so make sure that you bring enough cards to hand out to at least a dozen people and keep spares. Exchanging cards also provides the opportunity to write down a few notes about the person on the back of their card. What do they look like? What interesting thing did they tell you about themselves? How do they take their coffee? These facts will help you remember more about the person after a night of meeting several people.
3. Be friendly and confident
Just remember that the other people in this room are just as nervous as you are. So, relax. When walking up to someone remember to smile. Do not cross your arms or keep your hands in your pockets. Give them a firm but brief handshake, and while making eye contact introduce yourself.
4. Build relationships
Networking is about building relationships, and building any relationship takes time, so be prepared to make an effort to get to know this person. Ask open-ended questions and try to avoid questions that can be answered with a yes or no. If they ask about you or your company, be prepared to give them your answer. At this time, you are trying to make a real effort to get to know them.
This is not the time to throw a sales pitch or try to close a deal with someone. Instead, ask them for their business card and if it would be okay to follow up with them in a day or two.
Just remember that you do not have to work the room. 3 or 4 good contacts are better the 12 okay ones.
5. Follow Up
Don’t wait too long to reconnect with the people that you met. Before calling, send a brief email or connect with them on LinkedIn or another professional social media site. After they respond then it okay to follow up with a phone call or an invitation to meet in person.
These are a just few tips to be more successful the next time you are invited to a networking event! Come prepared, be yourself, and don’t forget to connect.