Networking is a word that is used a lot these days. Professionals understand it as “network of contacts” and Networking as “going to activities and events in order to increase their network of professional contacts and look for business opportunities”.
Going to a networking event can be similar to a first date. You think too much about the clothes you are going to wear, you rehearse what you are going to say, and you worry about awkward silences and sweaty hands.
The good thing about attending a first networking event is that as you attend more, it becomes easier and easier. With a little practice, you’ll soon be mingling and networking like a professional, and you might even land your dream job.
1. ATTITUDE TO EVERYTHING
Smile, be approachable and friendly, but without sharing too much information. Ask questions, listen carefully, show interest and impress by asking follow-up questions.
2. PRESENTATION: CARDS
Business cards are the bargaining chip at networking events, have them and trade with them. If you want to go further, make business cards with a unique color or shape, or with clever content. However, don’t be funny just for fun, or people might use them to get food out of their teeth.
3. BE PERSONAL
Trying to get someone’s attention with an email can be tricky, sometimes an in-person meeting is easier. After an initial contact, suggest meeting for coffee or a (business) meal, you just have to make sure the meeting has a purpose. After all, time is money.
4. THE MAGIC OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social networks are your best friends to create contacts: looking at photos to remember faces or viewing resumes and portfolios allows you to investigate and contact after the event in a more simple way.
5. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
One quality contact is more valuable than 20 superficial ones. Still, you probably need a shallow 20 to get close to that gem. So you have to have superficial talks until your time to shine.