Networking events are instrumental towards building quality professional connections and by “quality professional connections” I don’t mean coming back home with a bunch of business cards. Exchanging cards is one of the first few things that you would do when you meet someone at a professional event – but this definitely should not be the only thing.
Each networking event that you attend should have an objective. It can be to learn about a new industry trend, to improve your skill set in your field, or to make some great business connections. Regardless of how you feel, attending networking events is a great way to meet people who can provide new opportunities and help you grow professionally.
In order to make the most of your time at your next event, here are 5 Do’s and Don’ts that you should keep in mind:
- Have a goal: Ask yourself, “Why am I going?”. Come up with 2-3 outcomes you hope to get out of the event. This exercise will help you stay focused and not roam around aimlessly.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare: Have a look at the agenda of your next event. Identify the topic of interest and prepare some questions; research about the speakers and identify their expertise. Take it as an opportunity to gain expert insights to take back to your daily work.
- Do not be on a mission – Make socializing feel natural: A networking event, as the name suggests is definitely meant for networking/socializing but this should not be mistaken with socializing without a purpose. The mantra is to relax, be yourself, be patient, have good talking points and let the conversation evolve on its own.
- Be a true brand ambassador: If you are representing your organization, be a true brand ambassador. Know the right facts related to your company and represent it in the truest sense. Also, know your personal brand and try to promote it the right way. Give just enough information to make people want to ask you to tell them more.
- Break the ice and meet new people: It is a human nature to hang out with familiar people and be indifferent towards new faces. But, this approach might not work when you are attending a professional conference. Be the conversation starter – There is no harm in saying “Hi” to the person sitting next to you, who might be completely unfamiliar to you, and then slowly drive the conversation towards your interest area and explore if he/she is someone you would like to connect with.
The next time you are attending a networking event, make sure to check out these tips to make a successful impact on people you meet.