Making the Most of a Networking Event
WRITTEN January 17, 2018
The holiday season has come to an end. You might be all partied out, but your calendar says otherwise. It’s time for a networking event.
Networking events are an easy way to meet new people in your industry. They are also a great way to expand your circle of friends and gain new contacts for future projects and endeavors.
Get the most out of the next networking event you attend in 2018 and spend your time there efficiently. Do more than shake hands and hand out business cards.
Here are five ways to build rapport and make meaningful connections at a networking event:
1. Go Solo
Attend the networking event alone or distance yourself from other people there that you already know. It’s harder to meet new people when you are standing in a crowd of colleagues or friends. Go solo and be the first to connect with other people there that might not know anybody else.
2. Bring Conversation Starters
Think of a list of topics you can chat about at the next networking event you attend. That way, when you find yourself talking to somebody new, you will be able to carry the conversation through any awkward lulls.
3. Ask Questions
Build rapport with people you just shook hands with at the event by asking them questions. Find out more about their jobs, their companies and even their hobbies. Show interest in them to create relationships that last even when the networking event ends.
4. Set a Goal
Get the most out of the event by setting a goal for the number of people with whom you want to connect. That way, If the event is an hour or two, you’ll be aware of keeping conversations short so that you can meet a variety of people.
5. Arrive Early
Be early to the event so that you can start conversations with people as they arrive. Also, locate your business cards so that they are handy.
Get the most out of the next networking event you attend by having a plan. Arrive early, be prepared with business cards, and have conversation topics ready to discuss. Ask questions of the people with whom you are chatting, and listen/respond thoughtfully. Even if you know other people at the event, do not speak exclusively to them because you are there to make new connections with those people you don’t already know.
This information is discussed in our Speakers Bureau curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.