9 Steps to Stand Out at Networking Events
February 15, 2023
15 minutes to read
If you are an introvert who has never been to a networking event, you could find the experience overwhelming. Meeting people face to face is a great way to expand your professional network, but you need to be prepared, or you can leave with no business cards.
This article educates you on attending a networking event in 2023 and standing out, which is the first step to building relationships with people in your industry. Below are nine steps to help you make the most of your time at any networking event.
1. Discover More About the Event and the Persons Involved
So, you've decided to sign up for networking for a job search but aren't sure what to do in advance. It may be hard to research the event, but most networking events should have a catalog of the companies present.
Examine them carefully to see who would be worth getting to know. Learn as much as possible about the Human Resources representative and the company's background if you consider working there.
2. Create an Appealing Business Card or Calling Card
If employed, you can attempt to create a non-traditional card using high-quality paper with a unique layout.
If you are still in school and don't yet have a job worthy of including on a business card, you can design a calling card instead. It is a card with your contact info, including email, phone number, and links to social media profiles like LinkedIn.
3. Approach Open Conversations
Walking up to any group, large or small, can be nerve-wracking. With the correct attitude, you may easily join an ongoing discussion or initiate a brand-new one.
Relax into the evening by conversing with one other person on their own. Before attending this networking event, you should study recent trends in your field.
This will enable you to initiate a conversation and elicit insightful feedback from a potential client. Other things you could try to start a conversation when networking are:
● What do you do for a living?
● How did you end up here?
● What are your thoughts thus far on the event?
● Do you recognize any of the speakers?
4. Maintain Eye Contact
People tend to avoid making direct eye contact with one another as technology becomes more pervasive in today's society. Keeping eye contact gives off confidence and authenticity, which are highly regarded in networking.
One of the most effective ways to convey interest in another person is through your eyes. However, it is important to be aware of cultural norms about eye contact and act accordingly.
5. Engage in Active Listening and Show Interest
Mastering the art of attentive listening is a skill that will serve you well in every networking situation. Building strong bonds requires a genuine interest in and attention to the other person's words and ideas.
Paraphrasing is an excellent active listening skill to develop. This demonstrates to the other person that we are listening to them and interested in what they are saying.
Questions are another method that demonstrates curiosity and encourages others to continue the conversation. The ability to listen attentively is a cornerstone of networking, laying the groundwork for fruitful connections with others.
6. Maintain Brief Conversations
Everyone you meet at networking events will have a plan for the occasion, just like you do. And you both desire to meet as many people as possible. But time is of the essence at these functions. So, it's best to stick to introductions and short explanations in most conversations.
You should avoid coming off as unpleasant or as though you only care about collecting business cards. Remember that not everyone you chat with will be a helpful connection in the future.
7. Do Not Sell
The goal could be to get people interested. Yet, the primary goals of attending business networking events should be making connections and fostering new relationships rather than generating leads.
Your elevator pitch will be a promotional tool, and you may get to discuss your product's or service's benefits. However, it would be preferable to save the hard sell for later.
8. Demonstrate Your Competence and Kindness
Perhaps you're representing your company at a networking event. Still, relationships are between individuals, not between companies. So, you have to connect with people personally and show that you, as a person, have something valuable to offer.
Share your knowledge, expertise, and guidance without hesitation if the chance presents itself. Share a taste of your industry expertise. And if you can't help directly, put your new acquaintance in touch with someone else in your network who could.
9. Show Up to Networking Events Often and Make Yourself Known
Attending networking events regularly will boost your self-esteem and introduce you to new professional contacts. Becoming a regular at these functions will boost your reputation in the community and your field.
You'll also notice a general increase in people's openness to interacting with you. So, don't give up if you fail to reach your goals after one or two attempts; keep trying.
How to Land that Great New Job from Networking Events?
Here are tips to help you land that perfect job that you have been looking for from a networking event:
Arriving 10 to 20 minutes early to the event's start will allow you to mingle and initiate talks with others before the event begins. Any potential customer will immediately recognize you as a person of integrity and punctuality.
No matter what type of business you intend to enter, it is advantageous to be conservative. Consider wearing a tie to work if you're in sales. It demonstrates to the potential employer that you can handle sensitive situations professionally.
Get Contact Information
After a short conversation, you can tell a potential client that you enjoyed talking to them and would like to keep in touch. This way, you exchange information, business cards, add each other on LinkedIn, and exchange emails. Connecting with them in this way can pave the way to future referrals.
Attending networking events allows you to meet new people and expand your professional network. Doing some background research and formulating a plan of action can be useful. The requirement to be personable is a critical aspect that should have been emphasized before. So, while it's great that you're considering some of the above suggestions, remember that you still need to be you.