9 Tips for Navigating Your First Networking Event
Have you tried signing up to a networking event in your chosen field? This might seem like an ordinary event, but trust me, this occasion is more than just grabbing free snacks, passing out business cards, and showing up.
A networking event is all about meeting people, and sharing what you do. By attending one, you can gain a significant amount of contacts that you can reach out to in the future. Here are some tips you know before attending your first networking event.
1. Set a Goal
Before preparing and attending the networking event organized by professional event management, ask yourself first: why am I attending this? What is your goal? Why do you want to meet new friends? Why are you so eager to get a new job lead?
2. Dress to Impress
Wear something professional. Remember, it is important to keep a positive good impression. If you look disorganized, untidy and overly casual, chances are, they won’t take you seriously. Wear professional-looking clothes, but at the same time, select a comfortable one that will make you feel more confident.
3. Bring Business Cards
This is probably one of the most basic things you can do before attending any type of business event. Bring as much business cards as you can. You should be able to grab it easily on your purse, in case you meet someone you want to connect with.
4. Make an Effective Introduction
Learn how to introduce and sell yourself. Make sure to smile, make eye contact, state your name, and give a brief, firm handshake. Don’t forget pay attention to the person you are speaking with. You must appear interested and sincere in every conversation.
5. Listen First, then Speak
Want to hear a networking secret? You should let the other person talk first. Many individuals don’t know this, but he or she who speaks first is only being half listened to. Is your counterpart preoccupied with what she’s saying? Then, she wouldn’t give his or her full attention to your words.
Feel free to ask the other person some questions first. That way, she will be focused an relaxed once the conversation starts with you.
6. Show Sincerity and Interest
Mentally prepare some questions. Remember, the best questions are those that can’t be answered by just no and yes.
7. Get to the Point
Once it’s your turn to share something about yourself, just mention around 2 to 3 sentences. Later on, you can share more details, but if you already share a lot in a single conversation, they might lose their interest quickly. Moreover, as much as possible, avoid using industry jargons. Just try your best to establish rapport.
8. Take Down Notes
Take note of the most important conversations. At some point, there will be people who would make a mark on you. If there are details you want to remember, write them down or just put it in the notes section of your phone. Remember, your purpose of attending this event is to connect with people to gain for future opportunities.
9. Follow Up
Make sure to do some follow ups a day after, or days after the networking event. A simple email will do! Send messages to those people you want to continue to work with. Let every contact know that you enjoyed talking to them in the gathering, and that you are looking forward to working with them soon. You can also send them a LinkedIn invite. This is one of the best ways to track connections.