You either love them or you hate them, but for everyone they are a vital part of professional growth and encouraging opportunities. Networking events are hard to navigate but are an essential part of any business professionals life. Although networking events have proven to have great potential, few people actually put any additional thoughts into pre-planning. Below is a list of my top tips for making the most at networking events.
Research who will be in Attendance
You’d be doing yourself a disservice by walking in blind and unaware who will be in attendance. People who attend networking events are taking time out of their days to do one thing- network! If you show up with some prior knowledge of who you want to connect with while you’re there, you are way more likely to create solid, meaningful connections. Take advantage of the fact that everyone is there to connect.
Walk with purpose, talk with purpose, and carry yourself with purpose. Being purposeful and intentional at networking events allows you to get the most out of the experience. The most discouraging thing would be to attend an event and gain nothing from it, and the truth is you have a lot of influence over avoiding that. You simply are a man or woman on a mission with the goal of connecting with others- act like it!
Connect through a Follow-Up
In order to have a connection with purpose, you have to connect with people outside of the event itself. Try to send a follow-up email to the professionals you talked to within 72 hours (throwback to career fair days!). It’s important that those you connect with at networking events remain connections. You have to be intentional about your connections just like you do with friends. Keep up with them personally and professionally- you never know what value they could be to you or vice versa.
The saying goes “your network is your net-worth” and it couldn’t be more true. You never know how knowing just one person could impact you personally or professionally. Your network has the potential to provide you great value whether it’s a new job, or knowing someone at your dream company. Pay attention to all of the possibilities to grow your network, research those in attendance, be purposeful, and follow-up and you’re guaranteed to knock network events out of the park.
Story By: Anna Kate Newall