Four Tools to Bring to Your Next Networking Event

WRITTEN October 4, 2018 Author: Jen Glantz

Your next networking event can feel like another thing on your to-do list. You may write it off as a waste of time, especially if you are going just for the free refreshments or to talk to those you already know.

How do you squeeze the most out of a networking opportunity?

Have a plan. Go prepared. Don’t leave until you’ve met your goals.

Read on for a checklist of the four things you should bring with you to a future networking event.

1. A List of Questions

Come prepared. Create a list of relevant and engaging questions to ask those you shake hands with. Fill awkward silences with topics that spark conversation, build rapport, and make the most of your time interfacing with the people you meet.

How long should this list be? Bring a list of 10 questions. You can mix and match the ones you use based on who you are chatting with.

 

Questions to consider:
“What’s a new project you’re excited to work on?”
“What are your thoughts on [Insert new industry innovation here]?”
“How can I be helpful to you?”
“How did you get started in this industry?”
“What are your go-to resources for guidance in this industry?”

 

2. Set Goals
What do you want to accomplish? View networking events as if they are career-driven missions. Set goals and your focus for the event will be clear. Your time at the event will have structure. You won’t waste time talking to just one person or hiding in the corner checking your email.

 

Goals to Consider:
1. Meet 10 new people and exchange contact information with them.
2. Find three ways to help three people.
3. Learn about two new resources that can help you stay up-to-date in your industry.

 

3. A Follow-Up Method
Bring business cards to exchange with those you meet. Have a way to also capture the other person’s information. Ask them to type their email into the note section on your phone. Follow them on LinkedIn or Twitter. Set a date to meet for lunch or coffee to continue the conversation. Determine a follow-up method so your one-on-one chats can lead to future career relationships.

 

4. A Concise Elevator Pitch
Practice your answers to key networking questions. Be concise with your personal elevator pitch. Rehearse your responses, out loud, before you arrive at the event to sound professional, polished, and precise. Lengthy answers will lose your audience because people have short attention spans. Short responses keep people engaged and informed about who you are.

 

Have Answers for These Questions:
“What do you do?”
“What’s your career goal?”
“How can we help you?”
“What are the challenges you’re facing?”
“What are your goals for the year?”

Walk in the door prepared and you’ll get the most out of every networking event you attend. Think of questions beforehand to engage in interesting conversations. Set goals so you don’t waste any time. Find a way to exchange contact information so you can follow-up the next day. Practice answers to key networking questions so you stand out. Bring these tools with you to your next event and you’ll leave with more than just a full stomach of free refreshments.

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