Networking events are a great way to meet
people from different walks of life and expand your social and corporate
circle. Best part of a networking session is that you never know who you might
meet - your future boss, business partner, client or even lifelong partner!
Here are 5 things that you should do to have a fruitful networking event.
Craft Out a Game Plan
As with anything in life, there must be an objective. What is the reason that you are attending this networking event? Is it to build your contacts or is it to see who your competitors are? It does not have to be a long list, around one or two objectives should be set for each networking event you attend.
One way to draft an objective would be to find out who the speakers are or get a hold of the guest list. Sieve through the names of who are attending the event and pick a few whom you want to build a connection with and work out a plan from there to engage them. This should keep you focused throughout the event, and somewhat ensure that you do not leave empty handed.
Personal Hygiene and Dress Code
Similar to going for a job interview, first impression counts. It might have been a long day at work or the weather might have been exceptionally warm, but no one would like to approach a glum-faced person or endure the smell of body odour. When in doubt on how to dress, always go for a smart casual outfit.
Memorise Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch consists of a few key things that include your name, what you are currently doing and your academic or work background. In short, it is a summary of yourself that can be recited in less than a minute - yes, just 60 seconds.
It might seem like an easy thing to do, but rest assured a good elevator pitch takes time and effort to craft. Bear in mind that it also needs to intrigue your audience, prompt them to want to know more about you and start an engaging conversation.
Prepare the Essentials
Two things to bring, a stack of name cards (at least 20) and a pen. Best way to keep in contact with the people you meet at the event would be by passing them your name card. It is hard to really tell how many people will be at a networking event because more often than not, many will just just rock up to the event at the very last minute. So a stack of name cards would be advisable, it would also be really awkward and cumbersome if you are short on name cards and have to whip out your phone to take down their numbers.
Why the pen? After each and every introduction or discussion, note down the new contact’s strengths or skill you wish to tap on later. This ensures that even when there is a crowd, you do not get confused or forget who you met the next day.
Steer Clear of The Bar
Being drunk and fumbling around might actually be one of the worst things to happen at a networking event. Rule of thumb: two drinks is the maximum you should consume throughout the event - regardless of how well you hold your liquor.