Do your research
If you’re attending a networking event, find out as much as you can about it beforehand. Who’s hosting it? Who’s going? Who might it be worth you speaking to?
Volunteer at a networking event
If the idea of networking and approaching strangers makes you feel anxious, offer to volunteer at the event instead. This way people will approach you for help and you will be able to start a conversation from there. Having access to the guest list will also help you work out who’s worth talking to!
Make sure you prepare a little introduction about yourself for when you meet new people. Tell them what you do and why you’re there.
Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself
If you can get a mutual contact to introduce you, that’s great, but don’t be afraid to go it alone if needs be. Approach whoever you want to speak to, wait for a break in the conversation and then introduce yourself.
Remember people’s names by repeating it back to them and checking the spelling if necessary.
Pick out people’s distinctive features
This will help you remember everyone you meet so you can follow up with them after the event.
Be positive and build relationships
You have a lot to offer so remember that. But, don’t think purely about what you can get from the event – think also about what you can offer other people.
Ask interesting questions and then listen to the answers. People appreciate being listened to so remember the details.
Set a networking goal
Make sure you know what you want to get out of the event. Setting yourself a target number of new people to talk to is always a good idea.
Taking notes to help you remember key bits of information about the people you have spoken to is always a good idea – especially when it comes to following up with them post-event.
Say your goodbyes
Don’t duck out quickly at the end. Shake hands and wrap up with anyone you’ve spoken to before you leave so that they remember you.
Don’t forget to take business cards if you have them. It’s important not to spam people with cards but it’s a great way of making sure people have your details.
You will likely receive a lot of business cards yourself at these types of events so make sure you keep a record of everyone’s contact details somewhere and then follow up with them after the event. LinkedIn makes this easier, so if you don’t already have one, set up an account.