Networking is your opportunity to exchange valuable information with other people who may share similar interests, goals, and career paths as you.
A networking event is an occasion to find what you have in common with other people there. Listen for clues in conversations or ask questions that may help you find a common interest. It’s about meeting the right people and making the right connections with the people you meet.
Know who might be there and what you want to get out of it. Always carry business cards.
Move confidently through the crowd, and smile. There is a little saying called, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Even if you are uncomfortable, fake that you are having fun. Eventually, you will be! Don’t forget eye contact and a firm handshake.
Be willing to start conversation. Mingling at the food table is also a good place to start talking to people.You can build the confidence to move into other discussions.
People feel flattered when you show an interest in them and their work/organization, and they will reciprocate your demonstrations of sincere interest.
- Have a good introduction.
Be able to introduce yourself, and hopefully a little something interesting about yourself. Have a firm handshake to go along with this introduction.
Manners are everything, and should be extended to every single person, from wait staff to the top VIP in the room. Do not interrupt conversations, and welcome others into conversations. Thank the sponsor or host for inviting you.
Know when to leave a person, group or function. Use something like, “It’s been lovely talking to you. Enjoy the rest of the evening.” Then move on.
Small talk is something that comes natural to some people, but not for everyone. Be willing to practice small talk at every opportunity.