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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call: 913-314-4460