Networking events are a great way to meet new people and make meaningful professional relationships. Opportunities, friendships, and partnerships can all be created at networking events. Before attending your next event, use the following tips to help you prepare.
Purpose & Value
When deciding to attend a networking event, first determine the purpose and value of the event. Not every event will be suitable for you. Ask yourself the question, why am I attending this event? Develop a list of outcomes you want to achieve from the event, and then decide if the networking event is an excellent fit for your needs.
List of Attendees
You can view the confirmed guest list on many professional sites and invitations. Review the guest list. Write down the names and titles of everyone that interest you. Also, write a few notes on things to potentially talk about and ways to spark a conversation. For example, discuss some common interests that you have with the attendee.
Business Cards, LinkedIn Profiles, & Websites
Come prepared! You never know who you may meet at a networking event. Have physical and virtual business cards, an updated LinkedIn profile, or a website available to send when needed. This will help the people you meet remember you after the event. Be sure to have a stellar LinkedIn profile to initiate continued communication.
Dress to Impress
Your first impression is always a lasting impression. Take consideration into the outfit you choose to wear to a networking event. It is always safe to assume business or business casual attire is appropriate. Do your research and look at past events to determine what to wear at a networking event. If you are potentially meeting a new employer or business partner, you want to look presentable and professional.
Your “elevator speech” tells others what you do in less than 15 seconds. Before attending a networking event, practice your elevator speech. This is what starts conversations at events. Be sure to include what you are great at doing, where you work, and how long you have been in your field.
Use the above tips and strategies to make a lasting impression at your next networking event.