Networking is something a lot of professionals have a love/hate relationship with. Some people love to talk to other professionals about what they do and build their network, while others are more shy, and would rather let their work speak for themselves.
Whether you’re trying to develop your personal career, start a new business or company, networking events are a great way to help you build a professional network of clients, investors, partners, or customers. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to networking events with 5 tips to help you scale through conversations with professionals at networking events.
- Come with a goal in mind.
The next time you plan to attend a networking event, think about this. “Who do I want to meet, and what do I want to achieve by the end of this event?”.
Having clear and smart goals before you attend your next networking event will help guide who you speak to at the event. It’ll also you stay focused during your conversations, and make sure you ask the right questions and say the right things.
2. Dress appropriately.
We all the know the popular phrase about dressing appropriately, but being addressed properly isn’t the reason why we’re asking you to dress to impress here. Dressing well promotes confidence. So we believe if you’re dressed quite well, your chances at striking useful conversations with other professionals definitely increases.
Plan out your outfit in advance and pay attention to detail. These tips will make sure your outfit looks great, and it helps you network more confidently.
3. Have some conversation starters ready.
Approaching one person or a group of people at a networking event can be intimidating. Conversation starters are a great way to break that ice and get the conversation flowing.
The best thing to do is to start a conversation by introducing yourself. That way, you and the person or group of people you’re talking to can ease into the conversation, and then you can continue with some conversation starters like these:
- What do you do for work?
- What brought you to this event?
- Are you enjoying yourself so far?
- Have you ever met any of the speakers?
4. Listen more than you speak.
A big challenge with networking is actively listening. Many people talk a lot about their professional life while networking, but the thing is, nobody likes a talkative.
It’s very easy to stay focused on sharing that you may forget to listen to whoever you’re talking to. This is why it’s important to intentionally listen to people you talk to at a networking event to show them you’re interested in what they have to say.
A great way to let the person you’re speaking to know that you’re listening to what they’re saying is to paraphrase something they mentioned in the conversation in your reply to them. Another way is to ask questions relevant to things they’ve said in the conversation. This will definitely show that you’re listening and are engaged in the conversation.
Active listening is a really important skill for effective networking, and you should practice this a lot to foster productive professional relationships!
5. Get to the point.
Everyone’s favourite part of a networking event is probably getting what you came there for. You know, achieving the goal(s) we asked you to set at the beginning of this blog post.
It could be landing a client you’ve been prospecting for a while, setting up an interview with a company you’ve been dying to work for, or getting a new investor for your startup or business.
Whatever your goal is, it’s best for be as direct as you can when networking and trying to achieve that goal. But, how do you do that without coming off as too aggressive? We have some tips for you.
This isn’t all that different to answering questions at a job interview. Your typical great interview answer shows truth, confidence, and a bit of your personality. When you’re pitching to an investor, or to a potential client or employer, follow this same format.
Basically, go straight to the point and say what you want, but present it in a way that highlights the benefits to your listener.
Networking is one of the best tools to have for professional development, and by being a 100% prepared for your next networking event with these tips we’ve given you. We’re sure you’re going to crush your goals!
We have a few networking events coming up on the Tix discovery page for you to practice these tips at. Head over there to register and share this blog post with your friends that need it.