Networking is a key part of success for marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. But attending in-person networking events can be overwhelming and intimidating.
If you dread the thought of attending an in-person networking event, don’t worry! Here are some tips for productive and authentic networking that will help make it more enjoyable–so you can maximize your time at these important gatherings.
Before attending an in-person networking event, it is important to do three things.
- Research and set goals for yourself. Research the event and attendees so that you can be prepared with questions and topics of conversation. This will help you make meaningful connections at the event. Additionally, setting realistic goals for yourself such as meeting a certain number of people or having meaningful conversations with a few key contacts can help ensure that you get the most out of your time there.
- Practice your elevator pitch. This is essential before attending an in-person networking event. Your elevator pitch should be concise yet informative; it should include who you are, what kind of work you do, and why someone would want to connect with you professionally. Having this prepared ahead of time will allow you to introduce yourself confidently and effectively when meeting new people at the event.
- Bring business cards. Business cards are still relevant in today’s digital world – they provide a tangible way for potential contacts to remember who you are after leaving the event. Make sure that all contact information on your card is up-to-date so that anyone interested in connecting further can easily reach out afterwards.
By taking the time to prepare beforehand, you can feel more confident and comfortable during in-person networking events, which will help you enjoy yourself, connect with people authentically, and even attract new business.
Make Connections During the Event
Making connections during an in-person networking event can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can make the most of your time at any gathering.
Introduce Yourself to Others
When attending an event, introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Look them in the eye and smile warmly. Include your name and what brings you there so that they remember who you are later on. You could also ask them questions about their work or interests–this will help build rapport quickly.
Ask Questions and Listen Intently
It’s important not only to introduce yourself, but also listen intently when others are speaking. Asking questions shows genuine interest in what they’re saying which helps create a connection with the other person more easily. Plus, it gives you insight into their background, which may lead to potential collaborations in the future.
Follow Up After The Event
After the event is over, follow up with those whom you connected with by sending them an email or connecting on LinkedIn. This will keep your relationship going even after the event has ended. In your message, thank the person for any valuable insight, encouragement or ideas they shared.
Networking can be intimidating, but by introducing yourself to others, asking questions and listening intently, and following up after the event, you will make meaningful connections that could lead to future success. Taking care of yourself during the event is just as important for productivity.
Take Care of Yourself During the Event
It is important to take care of yourself during an in-person networking event so that you can stay focused and energized.
- Dress Appropriately for the Occasion: Make sure that your outfit reflects who you are as a professional. It should be appropriate for the occasion, and also something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. If possible, try on your outfit before the event to make sure everything fits properly and looks good together.
- Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Whether you’re at an evening social, a two-hour workshop, or an all-day event, be sure to eat and hydrate. When you’re fueled properly, you’re able to better focus on conversations with fellow networkers, speak confidently about yourself, and absorb material from speakers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Step Away from Conversations When Necessary: It’s ok, and even encouraged, to take breaks during an in-person networking event. Find a quiet corner where you can relax for a few minutes or go outside for some fresh air if needed.