4 Great Tips For Making the Most of Networking Events
Last night I found myself standing in a room full of people talking with one another, a drink in everyone’s hand, including my own. I was thinking about if I looked good, if I had good energy, if I had a welcoming stance. Was I at a college party? Maybe three years ago, but last night – no! I was at a networking event. It’s almost the same thing except everyone is older and professional. I want to share some advice that I’ve learned from attending events such as these.
Remember when I said it’s like a college party, but it’s actually not? That’s right, it’s NOT a party. Don’t get drunk! Adult beverages are amazing at clearing any tension in the air, but the only thing more tense than a room full of strangers chatting is the drunk belligerent person loudly talking up the bartender or starting a hot-dog eating contest. Don’t be that guy. Sip slowly!
Be Good at Being Awkward
I just love being awkward. Trust me, these networking events are going to be awkward, but that’s okay! Just go with it, this is expected. Put yourself in a situation you wouldn’t normally be in by starting a conversation with a stranger. Ask lots of questions and smile and nod as much as you can. If you’re solo, target someone else that is standing.
End the Conversation Gracefully
It’s always great to get into a conversation, but there is a point when it’s clearly forced. At that point, end with a good note. Explain that it was “great chatting! I’m glad I was able to learn more about your work. I’m going to say hi to a few other people, hope to see you around!” Or if all else fails, “Great talk! I’m going to grab another drink!”
Do you have an elevator pitch? Maybe it’s time to create one. Make sure you understand the purpose and main goal of you attending the event. Is it to simply meet others? Are you looking for advice regarding your career from experience professionals? Either way, just be yourself and have conversations that make sense to achieve what you are trying to get out of the event. Understand that everyone is there for a reason and it’s important to speak with confidence to make a great impression!
Hopefully this will help if you’re thinking about attending an event but aren’t sure of what to expect. Overall, networking events should be fun! They should also be productive so it’s good to utilize them to their fullest potential. Anyone else have tips that can help?