Let’s face it—meeting and greeting new people isn’t always easy, even if you’re the super interactive type. But at the end of the day, networking is an important skill that you’ll have to work on if you plan on advancing your career. So to help you make a lasting impression at your next networking event, we’ve listed a few things to expect, as well as some effective tips for scoring contacts.
Things to expect
Quick conversations. You’re one of many people, and the purpose of a networking event is to make new contacts, build relationships, and exchange ideas. The person you’re speaking to understands this, so don’t be surprised if your conversation is interrupted. Move on and talk to someone else.
Expect to talk about yourself. Why should other people want to know you? What are your specialties? Answer these questions in a short, 30-second synopsis, and rehearse it a few times before the event.
Plan on asking questions. Humans have an innate desire to be asked questions about themselves or how they feel about something. When you ask someone a question, it shows that you’re interested in what that person has to say. And others are more likely to be drawn to you if you show that you’re interested in what they have to say. Catch my drift?
Be ready to listen to others. You really never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn at a networking event, so be sure to give others your undivided attention while you’re speaking. Remember, you only have a few short minutes to talk, so leave your phone in your pocket and make that time worthwhile.
Tip #1: Do your research
Every networking event has a sponsor or two, so you’ll want to get to know the mission of those sponsoring the event so that you’ll have something to talk about on the spot. If a guest list is available ahead of time, take a peek at it and circle the names of anyone who might be worth talking to. Questions are the windows to a great conversation, so be sure to think of a few questions you’d like to ask ahead of time so that you’re not scrambling for words while you’re on the spot.
Tip #2: Speak at a steady pace
Try mirroring the pace and tone of the person you’re speaking with. We’re naturally more comfortable speaking with people who are similar to us, and speech is no exception. If the person you’re speaking with is talking very fast, try to maintain a steady tone of voice so that he catches what you’re saying.
Tip #3: Dress for the win
Appearance is everything, and even the smallest details can make or break a potential connection. Stop by the barber shop for a fresh cut, shine your shoes, press your shirt, you know the drill. And don’t forget to accessorize- a great watch, cufflinks, and an intriguing necktie can do wonders for helping you stand out from the rest.
No, we’re not talking about that neon striped tie you wore in high school. If you’re really looking to get the conversations started on the right foot, try sporting a Squiddledee Ties at your next networking event. They’re playful, yet sophisticated, specially made to flow with your unique personality.
Squiddledee Ties come in a variety of clever designs, like the sociable Bloom No. 18, or the competitive and classy Turtle and Hare. And they’re all made right here in the U.S. with 100% silk, for timeless quality that’s sure to get you noticed.
Tip #4: Get out of your comfort zone
Remember, the purpose of networking is to make new contacts and open new avenues of possibilities in your career. If you’re not talking to new people, you’re not networking. Just get up there and start with a simple “hello.” You’ll do well.
Best of luck!