TEN TIPS ON HOW TO SUCCEED AT NETWORKING EVENTS
Networking is one of the most powerful and effective ways to build greater career opportunities. Whether you are looking to change career or seeking career development opportunities, networking enables you to increase the number of people you know who can of assistance to you.
- Preparation Create a list of professionals who would be most useful for you to meet and those who may have connections with these useful professionals. Be really creative.
- Guest List Review the guest list prior to the event. If you have not received one, can you contact the event organiser and ask for one? Identify those people who fall within the categories you have listed in 1 above. Remember that there is little point attending the event if no one on the guest list is useful for you.
- Useful Items Remember to take your business cards, a pen, name badge (usually provided by the host) and your list of useful professionals. Ensure you can get hold of your business cards easily.
- The Event Arrive on time and go in search of your potentially useful people. Go for quality and not quantity. Going home with 5 really useful business cards is better than going home with 20 random ones.
- Conversation When introducing yourself, ask the other person what they do and find out as much as you can about them before telling them anything about you. When it is your turn, make it interesting and tell them about what you do and not what you are. For example, say you help professionals achieve the best careers rather than that you are a career coach. Go on to explain the need for your work and confirm that you help meet that need, giving an example of one of your success stories.
- Chat Tailor your conversation around what the other person told you at the beginning of your conversation.
- Business Cards If you discover that the person you are talking to is going to be useful for you, ask if they would mind if you dropped them a line in a couple of days to arrange to meet for a coffee. Ask for their contact details and whether they would like your business card.
- Thank Thank the other person and once you have moved away, write down a few things about the conversation on their business card to prompt your memory at a later date. Now move on to talk to somebody else.
- Follow up Email the person you met within 48 hours of the event and do any promised follow up actions. Keep in touch with them and remember that networking is all about give and take. When you help others, they will be more willing to help you too.
- Enjoy it! Be curious about meeting other people and this will make networking more fun.