By: Josefina Romano, DPS Marketing Coordinator & Blogger
Have you ever attended a networking event only to feel like it was a waste of your time by the end of the day? A lot of times people attend networking events simply because they feel that is what they are supposed to be doing but it can often lead to no results. Without a clear objective of what you want to get out of your next networking event it can be hard to make the most out of it no matter how many good business connections you make. With these tips, you can learn how to improve your next networking event experience:
Have a clear purpose
Before attending the event do a little research on who can be expected to attend. Many events have public lists of other individuals who have also RSVP’d for the same event. Understand who you will be meeting and what you want to gain from those interactions. People attend networking events for a myriad of reasons such as job hunting, expanding their professional network, finding potential clients or simply interacting with other like-minded people so it is important to not get lost in the mix of it all. Have a clear game plan on what you want to achieve and what you need to do to achieve it.
Have a proactive approach
Going to a networking event and just waiting for people to approach you is not the most effective way to achieve your objective. Instead, try having a proactive mindset with approaching people and keeping an inviting and open body language. There is no harm in simply introducing yourself with a short elevator pitch and a handshake even if it doesn’t come 100% naturally. People usually appreciate the effort and will help build the momentum of the conversation with you. Have questions in mind that you want to ask them and be sure to attentively listen to the answers. Focusing on the person you are networking with and not scanning the room for your next target shows a great amount of respect and makes you memorable. At the end of a conversation exchange business cards or contact information with the person and let them know that you will be in touch with them.
After the event
Right after the event, take notes of key people that you met and useful information that you learned. Search them up on LinkedIn while you are still fresh on their mind and send them an invite. This is a terrific way to improve your LinkedIn network and potentially connect you with more people online. You should also follow up on any conversation or pending action items with a brief phone call or E-mail within 72 hours of the event. Following up can be your gateway to finally score you the interview you’ve been desperately seeking or a new client for your business. You have nothing to lose, so get out there and network!