Networking is a very daunting subjects. Actually, it’s one of my least favorite activities when it comes to working and being a “business” person. I’m a naturally shy person, so the thought of going to a place where I don’t know anyone and starting a conversation is hooorrriblee! But, what can I do? It’s part of the process. I have learned that networking is key to your success. As bad as it sounds, most of the times, it’s not about what you know but who you know. Of course, once you have the foot in, it’s up to you to keep it in but knowing people really does help you.
So, I have prepared here some tips for your next networking event. Remember that preparation is key and although networking events usually involve some kind of alcohol, it’s not a place to go party… It’s a place where you are working, so need to prepare for best results.
- Be prepared: Prepare 2 to 3 sentences to present yourself as well as topics to talk about that way you are able to keep a conversation. At networking events, you have to be a sales person and you have to sell yourself! You don’t have to brag about yourself but always say something you are proud of, or an exciting project you are currently working on.
- Remember names: When you meet someone, always repeat their names after they present themselves that way you remember it. When you are leaving that specific conversation, repeat it again. For example: “It was so nice to meet you, Belen!”. This will show them you payed attention, you were interested and will remember them in the future.
- Be efficient: No more than 3 minutes with each person. You are not there to have a lunch with someone, you are just meeting them. 3 minutes should be enough to present yourself, for them to present themselves and have a little chit chat. You don’t have to be rude, you can just end with something like: ” Well, it was nice to meet you, I’ll reach out tomorrow so we can set up a time to go grab a coffee.”
- Stay in people’s mind: Follow-up on the next day!! no matter how charming you are, people will forget. Always, always send an email. Remind them about the event where you met, touch a point that you discussed with them and finish by asking them about their schedule so you can go with them to lunch or a coffee. This is the perfect opportunity to develop that relationship even more and in the future maybe you can work together.
One thing to remember is that networking doesn’t mean business. For every networking event you go to, you won’t get business but it’s important to develop these relationships because you never know when someone might need you. Also, networking doesn’t end after that lunch or coffee; make sure to include them in your monthly newsletter, invite them to events and so on. Always keep them in the loop that way you are fresh on their minds.
If you are starting your career and are looking for jobs, networking is a great way to meet people in the industry where you want to develop. If you are already working, networking is a great source of new business and even new job opportunities. I like to find networking events on Eventbrite!