Lately, I have been reading many different types of articles saying that networking events just are not worth your time as most of them are meant for people who somewhat familiar with the industry that the networking event is held for or the organization. However, I do disagree with such statements as from my experience I always had to benefit as long as I made the most of the possibilities and opportunities that have presented to me in the networking event.
In my experience, I would try to go alone to these networking events as they have been vital to my career and most of my friends and colleagues would not be interested. This can be seen as a social disadvantage however this is where you get to shine. Many make the mistake of going with people that they already know, however, the point of a networking event is to get to meet new people and socially interact with them. You firstly have to scan the room and find people that are of the same interest as you, important people with extended knowledge and connections that can offer opportunities to enhance your career.
Introduction and Communication
The way you introduce yourself to a person can be the total game changer. The way you approach them from a physical and visual aspect is very important as you do not want to intimidate them but, at the same time, you want to show confidence. The phrase you use for introducing yourself can tell the other person a lot about you, therefore, I would say choose your words wisely. A good example would be:
Hi there, I do not believe I had the honor! My name is…
This phrase may sound a bit presumptuous, however, if you are to use this phrase or something along those lines you must be ready to have a full on conversation with that person and have some certain knowledge of who they are, what they do or the organization which they represent. You must always be respectful and never speak over someone else (always wait your turn). Make sure that you keep a high level of clarity, too much chit chat may not be the best so in every question or answer that you offer to be clear and at the same time try to remain concise and to the point.
Have a Plan and a Goal in Mind
The plan should be simple, however, once you get there you see that things may not be so simple especially when you have to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people that can be intimidating based on their ranks at the event. The plan has to link with the goal itself as the plan has to be created around the goal. Try to do some research beforehand about the people that are coming to the event as well as the importance of the event itself. The more knowledge you have about the event as well as the people the higher of a chance you have to impress which will bring people towards you making them want to know more about you or even connect. Another way to impress people at such events is to share your accomplishments such as different projects that you have worked on or business goals that you have managed to achieve.
You are going to meet new people but, at the same time, you may want to make some new connections into the business world or just gain some experiential knowledge. You are not necessarily going to make friends but, potential business partners that will benefit you and at the same time you can benefit them. If you have a goal in mind it is more likely for you to actually achieve something as you have a direction you need to follow and this will allow you to have a better understanding of what you need to do.
You want to look for inspiration from other people and to do this you must ask them questions such as:
What keeps you doing what you do?
People can have different reasons as to why they love doing a certain thing. It may be because it helps them cope with stress or simply is something that they see themselves doing for a living as they do not see themselves get bored with it. Inspiration is a great start for someone looking to start a new career path and a networking event is one of the best places to find it.
Try to Reach a Connection
As you have entered a conversation with a certain someone you want to connect for various reasons you must try to find similar interest or similarities that you may have with that person. In this way, there is a higher chance that the person will want to keep in touch with you. At the same time, you do not want to become a card giver but more of a card collector. You need to make them want to keep in touch and receive from them their business card by their own willing rather than asking for it. This is because if you receive it without asking the person that has offered you their business card will expect you to get back to them.
One thing that I do to make sure that I stay connected with the people that I meet and want to stay connected with is ask for their social media accounts and give them a friend request or a follow on the spot as if you do it in front of them they will have to accept it. If you do this, later on, there is a chance they may not want to connect with you, therefore, decline the friend request or follow request.
Any plan that you may want to follow try to act natural and by this I mean be yourself. I think that in today’s societies network event are underrated as many people do not follow these type of things and therefore do not profit from this opportunity.
I do hope that you have found this information useful and I would surely love to hear your opinion on networking as well as experiences that you have had and especially what have you gained from those events.