News

Career: Master Networking Events
Overland Park, KS
04/06/2017 06:58 AM

When some of us hear the term “networking event” we noticeably cringe at the very thought of being a room filled with strangers whereby we have to engage in thoughtful conversations with people we do not know. However, regardless of any social apprehension we may have, networking events can offer us a wonderful opportunity to make new connections, forge and build relationships, communicate our career brand and further the pursuit of our career goals and aspirations.

Networking events vary greatly based on the quality of the event, venue and the mix of attendees and as such, the outcomes are typically highly unpredictable. With experience, we can learn to choose the right networking events for us. The best networking events are usually those events where there is a wide mix of professionals from different industries held in a high quality, friendly venue.

A successful life and career is built upon the strength of our achievements and the quality of our human relationships.

In order to have a productive networking event experience it is important to be well prepared for the event via these tips:

=         Elevator Speech: An elevator speech is your “thirty second commercial” whereby you briefly state your name, what you do and your career brand with confidence as a form of introduction. At networking events, attendees are predisposed to engage in such introductions and they will reciprocate in kind. Quality introductions often inspire more in depth conversations with fellow attendees at the event.

=         Networking or Business Cards: It is very important to attend networking events with networking or business cards. This makes a stronger professional first impression. The contact information on your card provides the people you meet at the event on how to reach you in order to ask further questions or to set up a later one-on-one discussion with you. A well designed card also strengthens your brand identification.

=         Be Friendly: While this may appear obvious, being friendly and helpful to fellow attendees serves to enhance the quality of your and networking experience of other attendees. Connections are made at networking events whereas relationships are later built in person, over time. Being friendly at networking events can open the door to valued connections, relationships and enhanced career opportunities.

=         Be Gracious: It is most important be confident and gracious at networking events. This further enhances the opportunity to make meaningful connections. We do this by acting as the “host” during conversations with fellow attendees. This can be as simple as offering to refresh a beverage for a person you are engaged in conversation with at the event. First impressions count as they set the stage for further conversations of a potentially meaningful nature. Productive relationships often have their “genesis” in such quality encounters.

=         Engage: This does not mean that you should attempt to meet and have conversations with every attendee at the networking event. Rather, you should have quality conversations with the people you do meet. However, these conversations should not be excessively long as well. If you wish to engage in a more in depth conversation with a fellow event attendee, you can follow up after the event in order to arrange a personal networking meeting with the fellow event attendee.

=         Listen: Please be an active listener when you are engaged in conversations with networking event attendees. This makes a favorable first impression and supports the quality of your professional brand. As an engaged listener, you will make more quality connections and later, forge more meaningful relationships with networking event attendees. Focus on each person you meet one at a time.

=         Follow-Up: If you meet an attendee at the event that you would enjoy further conversation with, send them an email and thank them for the opportunity to meet with an invitation to meet for a more personally focused in depth discussion. These meetings often serve as the focal point for more meaningful connections, professional relationships, career opportunities and even personal friendships. It is our responsibility to forge such quality connections and relationships during our life and career.

Networking opportunities can naturally take many forms from events formally designated as “networking events,” gatherings of a more purely social nature or for a distinct business purpose such as cocktail parties, wine tastings, charity events, career fairs, professional association meetings, chamber of commerce events, neighborhood events, sporting events, tailgates or just about any venue where people gather and meet in substantial numbers.

People who are active networkers will be afforded more career opportunities and will earn more income over the course of their career. Please remember that a successful life and career is built upon the strength of our achievements and the quality of our human relationships. These two qualities are truly inseparable on our life and career journey.

Bob Lovely is a former senior corporate executive and officer, an accomplished “master level” certified executive and career coach and Chief Career Strategist with Career Strategy Solutions. Inquiries regarding consultation, services, fees or referrals should be directed to: bob.lovely@gmail.com or call: 913-314-4460

Reference
Bob Lovely
913-314-4460
 
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