Effective networking with your industry peers can be the key to achieving your career goals by finding contacts who can introduce you to new opportunities. However, it is far from uncommon for professionals to find business networking events somewhat awkward or uncomfortable. The line between socialising and business is sometimes difficult to gauge leaving many people concerned about how to pitch themselves at these events.
Making a good first impression
Being confident and friendly are the most important ways to make a good first impression in these situations. Looking approachable, initiating conversations and moving between groups to ensure you meet a good mix of people will help you to get the most out of any networking event.
Rebecca Gaden, Manager at Robert Walters comments, “Many people make the mistake of treating a networking event as if it is a sales pitch. Networking is about building the relationships that will eventually allow you to achieve your career goals so leave the sales talk at the door. Making a positive first impression on the people you meet at these events is the first step to expanding your contact network.”
Share contact details
If you meet someone at a networking event who you believe it would be worth connecting with again, having a way to make yourself memorable can be effective. Business cards or other branded items are a good way to pass on your contact information quickly and easily.
Networking is about building the relationships that will eventually allow you to achieve your career goals so leave the sales talk at the door.
If you do exchange contact information with any of your peers, follow up by contacting them after the event even if you don’t have any professional need to contact them immediately. Acknowledging them with a personalised email will help to cement the relationship and keep you on good terms, allowing you to contact them in the future.