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Face-to-Face Networking

CONNECTING AT NETWORKING EVENTS

PREPARATIONS:

  • If possible, make one or two connections before the event and arrange to meet at the event.
  • Go to the event alone! Don’t hang out with friends or people you already know.
  • Set a goal before the event, for example, I will connect with six new people tonight. A goal should not be to see how many business cards you can collect.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion.
  • Pick up a nametag. Put your career/job goal on your resume as well as your name.
  • Keep one hand free to allow yourself to shake hands with people without juggling drink, food, or other items.
  • Be prepared to offer help as well as receive. Be ready to tell others what you can do for them, and then follow up and do it.
  • Bring business cards and a pen in a pocket or easily accessible. You can create virtually free business cards from various internet sites. When you give someone your card, personalize it! for example, handwrite your cellphone number on it. write notes on the back of business cards you collect about the contact.

Making the Connection

  • Initiate a conversation with someone who is standing alone.
  • Have a few great conversation starters. Compliments work well! Have a one-liner to use when joining a group.
  • Don’t barge into a larger group. Ease in, make eye contact and gradually join the conversation.
  • When you introduce yourself, include what you do and why you are attending the event (what you are looking for). Be concise. Ask follow up questions about to information shared with you.
  • Be well-prepared to answer “What do you do?” with a concise, positive response. For example, respond that you are in transition and seeking a great new opportunity in the (your career) field.
  • During a conversation with a new contact, use the other person’s name two or three times. Ask them questions. Make good eye contact. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
  • Have a few good questions you could ask anyone in the room to jump-start a conversation that has gone dead.
  • Politely excuse yourself when leaving a conversation.
  • Know when to stop talking!

Follow Up

  • Send follow-up e-mails within 48 hours, preferably the day after the event.
  • Organize collected business cards. Add date and where you met the contact on each, along with notes about any special interests as an additional reason to keep in touch.

IMPROMPTU NETWORKING

You never know whom you’re going to run into on the bus, the train, at a party, or other unexpected setting. Suddenly you find yourself speaking to an expert in your desired career field, or the head of the most prestigious employer in industry.

How do you introduce yourself? What do you tell him/her about yourself? What kind of questions do you ask?

The best tactic is to be well-prepared in advance! Prepare and practice a short summary of who you are, what you would like to do in the future, and the type of help that you need to get you there:

I’ll be graduating from Loyola University Chicago this spring with my degree in English. I’d ultimately like to use my technical writing skills in trade magazines, particularly relating to the travel industry. I would really appreciate any advice you can give me. Would you consider setting up a short appointment for an informational interview to help me explore my career goals?


PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE & MEETINGS

Join a local professional association and volunteer to work at one of their conferences or meetings. Many associations have special student memberships.

VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES

Volunteer activities bring you in direct connection with people in your chosen career, particularly in the nonprofit industry.


Source: luc.edu

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10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

  1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
  2. Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
  3. Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
  4. Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

  5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
  6. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

  7. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.

  8. Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
  9. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
  10. Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.

Source: Businessknowhow.com

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