If you’re job searching or business building, you’ll find yourself at a lot of networking events this Fall. Just about every group I participate in LOVES hosting events where guests have a chance to mingle and meet each other. Whether you’re new to town or looking to improve your skills, networking can feel tedious at times, and even exhausting. If you’re looking for a reason to brace the cold, perhaps it’s time to sharpen your skills to get the most out of that time. With your calendar fast piling up this fall, it’s a GREAT time to remind yourself of the quick tips to help you network like a Pro and get the right connections you need.
Here are my top tips for upping your networking game ASAP:
1. Make sure you define what success looks like before you head into the event.
If you need to meet at least two new prospects or connect with someone who knows someone at a particular organization, know that ahead of time. By knowing what your goal is, you’re much more likely to walk in with a plan, and have a more focused (not narrow) conversation with the person you meet. This isn’t to say the whole conversation should be focused on your goal - but in case you find yourself forgetting what to bring up or what brought you to the event - make sure you come prepared!
2. If you’re walking into a room cold, meaning you don’t know a soul in the room, you’re doing it wrong.
Look up the attendees or ask the host for a list of attendees ahead of time. You’ll have a much easier time thinking of what to say and to who before you get there.
3. Walking into a room and moving from group to group can seem daunting but it doesn’t need to be.
When you walk in, take note of the room, where the bar/food is, other tables, and take note of how the crowd is dispersed. If you’re a fan of talking to groups, focus on where those groups are, or if you prefer one on one conversation position yourself accordingly. When the conversation ends, know where to head next, even if that means the bar or the bathroom!
4. The biggest failure point for people is following up.
Pro-tip to try at your next event: Tell the person you want to genuinely connect with how and when you plan to follow up by. By directing the follow up and action you are essentially committing yourself to the follow up - and much more likely to remember it. Use that momentum and follow up with them exactly as planned to remain reliable and courteous of your time and energy.
Share your experiences in the comments below!