What do you want to achieve after attending a networking event? I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be standing around drinking glass after glass of orange juice and people-watching for three hours. Effective networking is a way to build relationships that may come in handy in future whether you may be looking for jobs, referrals, investors or perhaps just friends of similar interests.
Is there a secret to effective networking and can this be developed over time? There’s a lot more to networking than merely exchanging business cards. Here are some tips that may be useful for your next networking event:
1. Be someone you are not
Don’t start off a relationship with a lie by not being yourself. Be genuine in connecting with people who are sincerely interested in what you do. These are the ones you will most likely stay in touch with even after the end of the event.
You wouldn’t like it if someone butts in and joins your conversation as if he or she has been there the past half an hour would you? Remember that it takes time to build rapport and trust in a relationship, much less a corporate one. Be patient and respect others!
3. Exchange cards with everyone and anyone
This would be your label: a card spammer! What would you do after collecting 50 pieces of business cards when the event is over? Would you remember all of them and what they do? Remember to build rapport with someone beyond the shallow exchanging of cards because networking is so much more!
1. Open up
You’re there to mingle, not be a wallflower! Don’t be afraid to make the most out of your short time at the event and be open to meeting people from all walks of life. On a similar note, don’t go to a networking event with friends. Trust me, you’ll end up in that same circle the entire time.
People appreciate it when others are listening to them as they speak. It shows that you’re sincere in building the relationship, be it business or not. In addition, you can take the chance to learn from the experiences of others! You never know what you may find.
Maintain connections with the people you meet. Go social! Add them on social media platforms, starting from LinkedIn (a more professional one). Express that you enjoyed their company at the event and make sure you stay in contact with them.