How do you typically do at networking events? Do you consistently build connections that help further your career or do you often become frustrated and declare that networking isn’t for you? Your level of success at networking events is largely determined by how to handle them. Here are some tips that will help you to make the right impression:
Dress for success. Before you have even had the chance to introduce yourself, people have already made an assessment of you. When you dress professionally, you make it a lot easier for them to see you as a potential employee.
Be prepared. What type of job are you seeking? What are your most marketable skills? Do you have a networking card with you? You need to do some basic preparation in order to network effectively.
Introduce yourself. It is a good idea to prepare a professional introduction so that you can make a positive first impression. When you get to the event, don’t be a wallflower. The value that you get from networking comes from the connections that you make.
Take an interest in others. People like meeting people who ask them questions about themselves. Don’t be completely preoccupied with what you can get out of the connection. Instead, take the time to get to know other people and even try to see if there is a way that you can help them.
Plan the next step. If you are reaching out to someone to make a connection, then it is up to you to determine the next course of action. For example, you could ask for their card and let them know that you will follow up with them by email. People always find it strange with someone reaches out to them and expects them to take the lead on the relationship.
The ability to effectively navigate a networking event will benefit you during all the stages of your career. However, even if you’re not completely confident, the key is to get out there and meet people. When you are actively making connections, you never know what doors will open up for you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: Stock Images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)