So, you’ve been invited to attend a networking event. Where do you start? Here are some simple dos and don’ts to take to heart when you’re preparing to enter the business networking world. Whether your networking event is full of creatives or corporate associates, find out what the best practices are when meeting new connections.
DO smile – Smiling will make you seem warm and inviting. Whilst networking events can be a little awkward and intimidating, you won’t be the only one feeling this way. Smiling will make you approachable and influence people to want to talk to you.
DO be yourself – It’s important to be your honest self when you are meeting new people. Remain genuine and open to sharing your own professional experiences with the people that you meet. It’s obvious when people aren’t being themselves – don’t get trapped into pretending to be someone you’re not comfortable being.
DO bring business cards – Remember to bring some business cards so that if you meet someone worth connecting with in the future, they are easily able to find you. If you’ve forgotten to take your business cards, ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn or ask them if they have any business cards so that you can follow up the connection.
DON’T forget to listen – You’re born with two ears and one mouth. Be sure to listen twice as much as you speak. No one wants to speak with someone who spends too much time talking about themselves.
DON’T drink too much – Too often, networking events will have an open bar or offer free drinks upon arrival. Whilst they say that alcohol is ‘liquid bravery’, you should be mindful of how much you drink. You don’t want to be sloppy when meeting professional connections.
DON’T expect – It’s always a good idea to go to networking events without having any presumptions other than the opportunity to meet new people who may be able to offer you important insights into your chosen industry. Just because you’re going to the event doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed any job offers or job recommendations.
DON’T forget to say thank you – If you’re able to, thank the event organisers for organising the networking event. Planning an event is not easy and if the event is hosted by a company that you are interested in working with, this will enable you the opportunity to start a relationship. Also, don’t forget to thank the people you meet on the evening for their valuable time and insights.