Networking events are the ultimate place to make new business connections. These functions give you the chance to meet people you may not otherwise have the opportunity to cross paths with, who may be able to assist in your job search.
While networking events are a great way to expand your list of contacts, it’s important to properly prepare in advance, in order to get the most out of the event. Use these five networking event tips to set yourself up for success at the next function you attend:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
You’d probably be surprised at the number of people who feel uncomfortable at networking events. If you’re uneasy about heading into a room full of strangers, practice ahead of time by role-playing with friends or by yourself in front of the mirror. Get comfortable talking about your skills, areas of interest, your current job, and your career goals. It’s also a good idea to think of a few topics to bring up if conversation hits a lull. Preparing in advance gives you the confidence you need to make the event a success.
2. Set Objectives
Get the most out of the event by really thinking about what you hope to achieve by attending. Perhaps you’re hoping to meet a representative from a company you’d like to work for? Whatever your goal, it will be much easier to achieve when you focus on one objective and stick to it.
3. Be an Active Listener
People love to talk about themselves at networking events. Really listen to what the other person is saying, so they know you’re genuinely interested. Ask lots of questions to get to know them more and make them feel valued. Those who really work to engage with new contacts are much more likely to make a lasting impression.
4. Bring Business Cards
The whole point of attending a networking event is to make new connections, so be sure to bring a stack of business card with you to hand out. If your company doesn’t provide you with these, you can order them from companies like Vistaprint for a very low price.
5. Follow Up with New Connections
The whole point of attending networking events is to meet new people. Afterward, take the time to connect with your new contacts on LinkedIn or write a short email telling each person you met how great it was to meet them and to suggest a future meeting. Remember to do this within a few days of the event so you’re still fresh in their memory.
Ready to make a change in your career? Contact Sparks Group. We have a variety of opportunities available in the Washington, DC/Baltimore metropolitan area and would love to help you take your next step in your career.