Networking is an opportunity to build professional relationships. Those relationships are key to reaching new levels in your industry. During my first networking event, the task of networking with seasoned industry professionals seemed daunting. In the end, I learned some valuable lessons that can help you become a networking pro.
Act As If You Are A Professional
As you work the room, remember to “Act as if” (Yes, this is a Boiler Room reference). Act as if you are just as seasoned as the industry professional you’re talking to. Make sure you don’t overdue it to avoid looking foolish. As an example, instead of presenting yourself as a recent college graduate, say that you are a professional in your field and looking to showcase your talent for the next opportunity. It is vital that you portray this professionalism and confidence at every networking event because these are potential dealmakers.
Have A Plan
Before you attend your next networking event, try the following:
- Research the guest list and pick out 10 invitees that you would like to meet.
- Research their social media accounts to gain an idea of who they are and how they use social media.
- Converse with the professional on topics you found interesting via their social media accounts.
This small action plan can lead to tremendous positive results because you kept the conversation at your level and found common interest to break the ice.
Make Sure You Follow-up
The end goal is to create conversation that makes colleagues want to follow-up with you. Try to beat them to the punch. Don’t be afraid to send your new contact an e-mail within 48 hours after the event. Doing so shows you have drive and are interested in doing business. Make sure, when you follow-up, you mention where you met them and important facts that you may have talked about.
Following these simple tips will help you graduate from beginner to an advanced networker in no time.