Networking at Events - Hints & Tips

Whether this is your first event or you are a seasoned pro, walking into a room of people and striking up a conversation can be a daunting task. The good news is that the people in the room are probably thinking the same thing, and hoping someone will reach out to help make them feel at ease. Here are 8 key tips to help you make the right impression.

Planning Ahead

Define Your Purpose

Every event is an opportunity to learn something new or meet new people. Before you get to the event, understand who the event is aimed at and why you are there. It might seem like an odd statement, but you have received an invite to attend for a reason, and clearly someone has felt you can add value. Once you understand this, you can then refresh your memory on any topics or even make a note of other attendees and reach out to someone you feel can build a conversation with.

Plan Your Outfit

There is an old proverb, “55% body language, 38% tone, and 7% words”. The right outfit will give you confidence as well as making you feel at ease. Remember when you’re planning your outfit, pick something professional, and if you’re not sure, pick up the phone and speak to someone (trust me, I’ve done it plenty of times!)

Bring Business Cards

In a world that moves fast, if you want to make a lasting impression, old school is sometimes the way forward. Business cards are a natural way to break barriers, start a conversation, but also something to take away to remember and follow up a conversation a few days following the event.

How to come across professionally and confidently

Introduce Yourself Properly

When you meet someone new, introduce yourself by making eye contact, smiling, stating your first and last name, and giving a firm but brief handshake – let them know your there and ready to start a conversation. Then, listen for the other person’s name, and if possible, use it while you’re speaking. This will not only help you remember the other person’s name, but also appear sincere and interested in the conversation.

Start by Listening

Here’s a networking secret: Let the other person speak first! No one remembers the person that started the conversation and ends it by talking about themselves throughout without acknowledging the audience. Giving someone time to talk makes them feel at ease and allows a conversation to develop organically.

Ask Questions

Knowing how to open a conversation can be an obstacle, but having a few good questions in your locker will save you from any awkward silences. Avoid any closed “Yes or No” questions and try and have a few open questions to get the conversation going, such as:

  1. What’s your role at your company?
  2. How did you get involved in your field?
  3. How have you found the last year?

Get to the Point

When someone is taking an interest and asking you questions ensure you can be concise with any answers. Ideally, state it in just 2-3 sentences. You can always go into greater detail later on in a follow-up conversation. Networking is about building rapport, and with a couple of events under your belt, will soon become a recognisable face.

After the Event

Stay in Touch

Building relationships and great connections is important as you look to grow and be remembered. We look to build professional relationships for many reasons, having a role model or mentor, learning from experienced team members, looking to establish a business connection and so on. It’s important to make a note of the people that you want to open new connections or continue the conversation and follow up with a police email or LinkedIn message.

Networking is a great asset for anyone in any industry, but don’t forget to enjoy the experience and have fun!