Author: Gina Mason – September 24, 2013
“It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small world.”
Don’t let a huge metropolis like Manhattan fool you. Despite the fact that there are millions of people working and living here, it is amazing how small this big city really is. That is why I truly believe in the power of networking because you never truly know who knows who in this town. I am an advocate for networking events and have made some incredible connections that have helped both personally and in my career.
Whether you are looking for a job or just a new way to get the word out about your business, networking events can be extremely beneficial for all. Although some may be put off by the idea of being forced into a room full of strangers, you may be surprised how these new connections can help you in one way or another. Below are some simple tips to help you get the most out of your next networking event.
1) Always be on time
It is always better to arrive as close as you can to the start of a networking event. Once the event gets going, people form small groups and start conversing with one another. It is much more difficult to break into a circle of people in the middle of a conversation than it is to start one. Be sure to get there early, so you don’t miss a beat!
2) Ditch the shyness at the door
I understand that networking events can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it is just as awkward and uncomfortable for everyone else in the room. Remember that everyone is in the same boat and majority of the people don’t know anyone either, so there is no reason to be shy. If you don’t feel comfortable walking across the room to speak to someone right away, look to the people standing next to you to break the ice.
3) Don’t forget to smile
This seems like a silly rule, but you would be surprised just how far a simple smile can get you. Think about it. What is more inviting? A person that is smiling or a person that is frowning? Doing this will not only make the process easier, but it will also increase your chances of meeting more people.
4) Play the name game
I don’t know about you, but I am the absolute worst when it comes to remembering names. I recently attended a networking event and a communication expert shared a fantastic tip with me. He told me that in order to remember someone’s name, simply play “the name game.” What is the “name game?” Well, when you meet someone new try to think of someone you already know with the same name. Envision that person’s face and make the name association with the new person.
5) Build a relationship
Although most people have the same goal of expanding their business or their Rolodex at a networking event, don’t sell yourself or your company right off the bat. Get to know the person that you are speaking to. Find out what their interests are, about their personal life, how many pets they have, etc. Make a personal connection first and the business will come later.
6) Don’t be a “Me-monster”
This one is a big one. We all have experienced Me-monsters at one point or another. You know, that person who is all about “me, me, me.” It is difficult when meeting new people to not talk about yourself, but try not to overdo it. If there are other people in the group make sure they have the opportunity to share their views or insight. People are turned off by those who only talk about themselves, so be sure to let others join in.
7) Be sure to follow up and stay in touch
After the event is over, be sure to send a follow up email within the first couple days of the event. Finish up a conversation or tell your new connection how nice it was to meet them. Keep that door of communication open and check in frequently. Although, your new connection may not be able to help you now, they may be able to in the future.
As mentioned above, networking events can be a great way to meet new people. You never know who you may run into or how they can help you in the future, so get out there and network!
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