Networking Events and Meetups

One of the best ways to expand your professional circle and make new business contacts is through networking events and meetups. The right professional contacts can help open doors to new opportunities and more. By attending professional conferences, events and meetups you can make contacts and expand your network. Learn how to make a great impression and get the most out networking events.

One of the tricks to success at networking events is knowing how to properly introduce yourself. To make contacts, people need to know what you’re all about. Make a great first impression by introducing yourself in the right way. Follow our advice to making a great first impression and start reaping the benefits of professional networking.

Tips for Navigating Networking Events

There are many opportunities for professional networking all around you. Industry events, professional conferences and chamber of commerce mixers and happy hours all provide ways to get out and meet people. Networking is more than meeting people. It’s about sharing who you are, sharing what you do, and making valuable connections.

Follow our tips below for success at networking events and in new situations.

TIP 1: Set a Goal

Before you go to a networking event, consider setting a goal for your time there. What would you like to get out of the event? Do you want to meet people? Find out about job leads? Looking to make friends? Pinpointing what you’d like to accomplish in advance can help you focus your efforts. You won’t wander around the event aimlessly if you’re seeking to accomplish a goal.

TIP 2: Arrive Prepared

Take time to plan out what you’ll need for success at the networking event. You’ll need to dress for success. Make a good impression by looking neat and professional. Wearing something that makes you feel great will also kick your confidence up a notch. It’s also important to bring business cards to a networking event. This way you can easily share your contact information. If you’re looking for job leads or trying to land a new position, consider bringing a few copies of your resume to distribute, too.

TIP 3: Know Your Elevator Pitch

An important part of networking is knowing how to introduce yourself. An easy way to make a great impression is through a 30-second elevator pitch. Tell your new contact about yourself in a short, concise way. Start with your most recent experience, explain your background and education, then close on a personal anecdote. This will help your new contact remember you.

While you’re at it, when you meet someone new, greet them with a firm handshake. Make sure to use their name a few times in conversation -- this helps you remember their name and makes then conversation personal.

TIP 4: Show Off Your Sincerity

Using your new contact’s name in conversation can make the conversation feel more sincere. So can asking questions and genuinely listening to their response. Questions you might ask a new contact include:
  • How did you get into your profession?
  • What is your favorite aspect of working in your profession?
  • Do you like working for your company?
  • What projects are on your plate right now?
These questions can’t be answered with just “yes” or “no” and they allow you to get to know your new contact. They also show sincerity and genuine interest.

TIP 5: Take Notes

It’s important to remember the details, especially when you’re meeting new people. Take notes on the details of the people you’ve met on the back of their business cards. Write down what you talked about and make a note if you’d like to follow up. Remember that the purpose of attending networking events is to make new connections. Having a few notes on hand will make following up with your new connections even easier.

TIP 6: Follow Up

Following up with your new contacts is what cements the relationship. A day or two after the event, consider sending follow up emails to anyone you’d like to continue a networking relationship with. Personalize each message and mention something you talked about. You might also consider sending a personalized LinkedIn invite.

Networking events and meetups are some of the most important tools you have when it comes to making new connections and tapping into a hidden job market. Be prepared for your next professional event. Be proactive and make the most out of your networking experience.

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