While some feel uncomfortable and unauthentic in the networking circuit, some have a natural passion for meeting new people and making fresh connections. Wherever you would personally categorize yourself, you’ll want to think this through before your RSVP “yes” to the next networking event. Here are some basic tips to make the most of your mingling.
1 Find a Balance
Attending events to grow your professional network can be time-consuming and exhausting on top of everything else you already have going on. Add to that the fact that much of this takes place outside of working hours, and you have a recipe for burnout. Don’t overdo it.
2 Have a Goal Going In
Who do you need to meet? Are you looking for new clients? New employment opportunities? Want to join a board of directors? Know what you are looking for and have a plan—that may even specifically include exactly who you are looking to rub elbows with—before you walk in the door.
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3 Remember Names
Find a way to remember the names of the people you are meeting. It is the best way to make them feel like they left an impression with you, and immediately establishes a friendly rapport when you see them again.
4 Work the Room
Don’t let yourself get comfortable chatting with the same people all night. Make your rounds and find new faces.
5 Practice Makes Perfect
For most people, socializing with people they don’t know is outside of their comfort zone. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You’ll be a power networker in no time.
6 Be a Connector
If there is one single most important piece of advice for effective professional networking it is this: always be networking. If you can constantly be looking for opportunities to connect people to one another, you are building relationships and establishing yourself as an invaluable contact. Mastering this “people connector” mentality will surely send you straight to the top of your networking game.