It’s International Women’s Day and today’s the day of the Speed Mentoring and Networking Luncheon. So you’ve taken the first step and booked a space (well done you for being proactive!), now what?
Read our 10 Tips for Successful Networking to get the most out of this networking event. Hopefully, you will leave with full spirits, full bellies, and a network full of new and meaningful contacts!
1. Do your research
If you know who will be attending or speaking at the event, do your research and prepare specific questions to ask.
When in doubt, ask the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, why – people naturally find it easy to talk about themselves when asked those simple questions. It puts the focus back on them and gives you an easy conversation starter.
2. Do research on yourself
So you know what to ask and whom to ask it to but have you considered what you will answer when they turn the questions back to you? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you do and why, and what makes you special – if you know what makes you special, you can make yourself stand out when introducing yourself.
3. Share your passion
People are drawn in by passion and enthusiasm. If you have something you are passionate about, let the world know!
4. Find common ground
Sharing personal stories is a good way to break the ice and if you find out you have things in common, it will make your networking experience that much more natural.
5. Empathetic listening – listen to learn
Listen with the goal of learning something and try putting yourself in another person’s shoes. When you ask questions, try to understand and to establish a connection with the person because people tend to remember people they connect with.
6. Set an objective
Focus on the outcome you’d like to get from the networking event. Whether it be connecting with a particular person or setting a goal of talking to at least 5 people, fulfilling a simple goal you’ve set yourself will boost your motivation to attend more events.
7. Quality over quantity
Making one great connection is more valuable than making 20 superficial ones so don’t get too caught up trying to network with everyone in the room.
8. Take notes
You’ll be in contact with lots of new names and faces, how will you ever remember them all? When you ask for someone’s business card, take notes on the card after they walk away or immediately after the event so that you can retain specific information for your follow-up.
9. Get connected in good time
There’s no point making lots of useful contacts if you never contact them! Make sure you follow up with your new contacts before they forget you.
10. Be yourself
Networking events are supposed to help you build relationships. If you’re trying to be the person you think others want to meet, you’ll be starting off your new relationships with a lie. Be genuine and the people you click with will be the ones you’ll actually want to stay in touch with.