10 tips to help you how to ace every networking event
You've made it to university and now its time to start creating a brand for yourself.
This could involve many things like creating a professional portfolio, applying for work experience or going to networking events. The one thing that students struggle with the most is networking, it's pretty daunting having to pluck up the courage to speak to industry professionals whilst still making a good first impression. But don't worry, here's our selection of the best networking advice to help you ace your next networking event.
1. Building meaningful relationships
When you are at a networking event, it's important to create meaningful relationships with the people you speak to because you want them to like you and trust you. Remember that the people you're trying to impress are people, so try to not bombard them with lots of sales talk and try to have genuine conversations with them.
Yesss! My number one rule for networking has always been "make friends not contacts" and it has worked wonders for me. People that you genuinely get along with and can have meaningful conversations with outside of what you do is so much more valuable for life overall.
— kale gribble (@heavyxeyed) November 16, 2017
2. Arrive early
This can be rather intimidating—especially if you're going by yourself—but it's always good to arrive early. Networking events can attract lots of people so you don't want to arrive too late otherwise you will struggle to join groups of people who are already knee-deep in conversation. If you arrive early, you can easily find people to introduce yourself to in a quieter and more relaxed environment before it starts getting busy.
3. Prepare a 60-second elevator pitch
— Network 4 Business (@Network4B) November 27, 2017
At these networking events, you need to create lasting first impressions. A good way of doing this is by preparing a 60-second elevator pitch. It can be extremely nerve-racking to stand in front of these people you just met and pitch your idea, but if you practice your pitch beforehand then you'll know what you're going to say and so you can make it clear and concise.
4. Don't be afraid to approach others
Instead of being reserved at networking events and waiting for other people to approach you it's important to be proactive and confident. Try to approach anyone and everyone at the event and be confident with what you can offer to the conversation. Remember, people have come to this event because they want to talk to others so don't be afraid to talk to people you don't know.
5. Bring your work
If you want to get into the creative industry, for example, then it is a good idea to bring a portfolio with you so that you can show people your work. This is a good way to back up what you've been saying about your current skill set to make you stand out from the crowd.
6. Power dressing
At these events you want to make a good first impression and, even though it is mostly about you as young professional, what you wear is still important. Depending on the event and type of people you will be meeting, you need to choose an appropriate outfit to wear. Obviously, you don't want to wear something that is inappropriate for an office environment or too casual, you want to look like you've made an effort to make sure that you present yourself in the right way. Power dressing could be the way for you and even pairing an outfit with a statement blazer or wearing something that resembles your unique personality could make people remember you.
7. Don't dismiss anyone
Treat everyone at a networking event with respect. Don't just shrug certain people off because you haven't heard of them or they aren't who you want to talk to, this will make you look rude and you never know who they are connected to or what they could offer you in the future.
8. Take notes
Unless you have an amazing memory, it's impossible to remember everything that people say during a networking event so don't be afraid to jot down some notes to help you remember your conversations, important contact details and maybe ways to remember the person you met. A helpful tip is to write down the notes on the back of the business card they give you to keep all of the information together.
#womensempowermentmi, Networking tip:Take notes on new people. Note on the back of their card where you met them and how you could connect
— Jody Wise (@jodyewise) May 18, 2017
9. Remember to connect with people after
Going to these networking events are great but one of the most important aspects of networking is connecting with them after on online afterwards. This can be a gentle reminder to them of who you are and the skills you have to offer. Once you have contact details from the people you talked with, you can then follow up on what you promised to send them or carry on talking to them about your future ideas that you could collaborate on.
10. Enjoy it
Networking is a really fun and an enjoyable way to meet people from the same industry to gain future contacts from. Make the effort to go to lots of events to get your name out there as a young professional. A room full of inspiring professionals and sometimes free food and drinks...what more could you ask for?