7 Tips For Thriving at Networking Events

Networking events can benefit business professionals working in every career imaginable. Regardless of your status in your profession, it’s always useful to make new connections. Networking can lead to your career growing in the unlikeliest of ways, you just have to make sure you’re going about it the right way. Whether it’s your first or your umpteenth prime networking opportunity, it can always be a little terrifying. However, with a little bit of effort, you can make it a truly fantastic and worthwhile experience. Here are some tips for a successful presence at a networking event.

1. Become familiar with the people running the event

Whether you do this beforehand or during the event, you should make sure that you know or get to know the people putting the event together because they can put you in touch with the right people. This takes the guessing work out of who to talk to, getting you in touch with the people who work in your industry or have a job related to your field of work.

2.  Have a business card with you

This may seem like common sense, but for the first time networkers, it’s something that’s absolutely essential. People tend to have short memories, that’s why you need to make yourself known. If you’re designing your own card, customize it so it stands out a little bit.

3. Take notes

If you’re meeting several people within the span of a couple hours, your memory may fail you. Bring a pen and jot things down about what you talked about. The other person’s business card is prime real estate for those notes to be taken, that way there’s no mistaking one person for another.

4. Make a few solid connections

Don’t try to have 25 minute-long conversations with 25 people throwing your business card to them at the end. Instead, you need to establish a deeper connection with fewer people to create an ember for a potentially solid professional relationship. If you end up conducting business with one person from the event or have one person from the event help you try to advance your career, then your attendance was way worth it. Don’t focus on getting around the room if you can make a lasting connection with the person in front of you.

5. Be yourself

Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not at these events. Don’t be so eager to get ahead that you’re acting how you think other people want you to act. The stigma about networking events is that everyone attending is a phony who’s just looking to advance their career. Don’t be a part of these perceived notions. Be professional, but be yourself. More people will react positively to you this way.

6. Pay Attention

Even if you believe that the person you’re talking to can’t help your career, you absolutely shouldn’t tune them out and find a graceful exit from the conversation. Keep it going, make as great an effort as possible and stay actively engaged. This person may have a way to get in touch with a person or company that works in your field. Once you’re a part of someone’s network, you increase your potential to grow in your industry.

7. Connect online promptly after the event

When the event is done, log onto LinkedIn to see if the people you’ve met have a presence. This way, none of the potential connections you have go to waste. Also, perhaps follow up with a nice message and ask politely if you can execute on the things you talked about.

Networking can be intimidating, but with the right mindset and proper skills, you can truly thrive. Focused on actively engaging with the people around you while remaining authentic and tremendous things will happen for your career.