If you’re set to attend a networking event, you probably feel a degree of excitement… but also another of trepidation. It’s a golden opportunity to meet new people and forge new business contacts, but that’s exactly why you don’t want to mess it up.
Once you’ve decided exactly what you want to achieve at the event, such as securing a new job lead or even just reconnecting with friends, you should prepare yourself carefully to help prevent from drifting into aimless wandering at the event proper.
Dress in confidence-boosting and memorable attire
If nerves are setting in, now’s an especially good time to don that suit or those shoes that you only recently bought but have felt enthusiastic about wearing. However, make sure your clothing looks professional but not drab; businesslike but still capable of lingering in the memory.
That way, if you impress someone with your networking and they want to meet back up with you as the event is about to finish, they will be able to find you again more easily, Cosmopolitan points out.
Bring plenty of business cards in a card case
Think of a networking event and you probably already picture people handing out business cards to all and sundry, but you can’t expect your own cards to impress if they haven’t been carefully designed and printed – or, obviously, you run out of them too early.
Thankfully, buying a printer from a company like Duplo International lets you print those cards yourself in an attempt to reduce the chances of a botched print job. Also, heed The Muse‘s advice that you bring more cards than you anticipate needing – and bring them in a professional card case.
Huddle like a penguin near a cluster of people
Approaching people you don’t know in any situation, let alone at a slick networking expo, can easily feel awkward and cumbersome. However, you can help draw more attention to yourself if you wait on the outskirts of a gathered group of people and wait for a convenient moment to pounce.
That moment could come when someone in the group brings up a subject where you have a truly interesting point to make. Now, this leaves the question of how you should introduce yourself…
Introduce yourself in a friendly, to-the-point way
This means making eye contact, smiling, revealing your first and last name and what you do, and shaking the other person’s hand briefly but firmly. Once you’ve caught their name, use it twice as you converse with them, as you will consequentially come across as more sincere and interested.
Avoid asking just “yes” or “no” questions
Yes, you want to get something out of the event, but so does the person you’re speaking to! For that reason, seek in-depth answers on matters such as how that person likes working for their company, what primary role and projects they have there, and how they got started in their industry. It’s like speed dating – and, sooner or later, you might find a match!