Do you know about National Networking Week?
From February 5 through February 9, you should be networking your wingtips off. Even if you’ve never felt comfortable networking before, you can become a pro.
Networking seems to come easily to some lucky people, but not to most of us. Like most things, it’s a skill that can be learned, practiced, and strengthened. Take these simple steps to ace your next networking opportunity.
Determine your objectives for attending this particular networking event. Think about who you would like to meet, who you want to speak to, and what you wish to achieve. If you are able, research the people you are most interested in talking with. Have conversation starters ready, as well as an idea about where you would like to guide the discussion. If you are generally uncomfortable talking about yourself, practice answering the kinds of questions you can expect to encounter. Prepare a short yet informative answer to the question “What do you do?”
Be in the Moment
If you know two people, introduce them to each other. Be the most positive and curious version of yourself—but be careful not to monopolize conversations. Be sure to not only ask questions, but spend time listening and truly engaging with the people you meet.
After the Event
As soon as possible, send a follow-up email to those you connected with, referencing your conversation. Your goal is to establish an ongoing relationship by proposing a move forward, such as meeting for coffee or lunch. Also connect on LinkedIn and any other relevant professional networking sites.
Prepare for your next networking event using our suggestions. Note how your experience has improved.