4 Tips to be More Successful at Networking Events

Attending a virtual or in-person conference, awards program or networking event? Here are 4 tips to follow so you can be more successful:

1.     Have a Plan

Before you decide to attend, focus on your purpose for attending and ask yourself these questions:

·         Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to meet (do your research ahead of time) ?

·         Is there specific information that you are looking to gather?

·         Will you share with people that you are in the market for a new job, or are looking for new clients?

Having a plan will make it easier for you to focus your attention and make it more likely that you will be successful.

2.     Practice

Despite how easy a quick introduction at a networking event would seem, people often stumble over it. Practice introducing yourself with confidence so you don’t waste the opportunity to make a good first impression.

·         Speak loudly, slowly and clearly enough to be heard and understood.  

·         Enunciate and speak with energy. 

·         Sit up or stand up straight, smile and make eye contact with the person you're introducing yourself to.

3.     Listen

Good networkers listen more than they talk. Resist the urge to dominate the conversation and instead, follow this process:

·         Ask open-ended questions; these questions often begin with "how" or "what" and require more than a "yes/no" answer. 

·          Actually listen to the answers. 

·         Demonstrate that you are listening by your non-verbal communications, for example, by making eye contact and nodding.

4.     Be Confident

If you hate networking and are uncomfortable schmoozing with people, recognize that many others feel just as uncomfortable as you do. 

·         Look for someone standing alone or who has just entered the actual or virtual room

·        Make the first move and introduce yourself. It's okay to say, "I don't think I know anyone."

·         Most likely, they’ll be grateful for the introduction – and you may just make a great professional connection!  

Following these 4 tips will help you get more out of the event and build your professional network.

 © Gilda Bonanno LLC - Gilda Bonanno serves as a trusted advisor to executives and entrepreneurs to transform their communication, presentation and leadership skills.  She has worked with companies on 4 continents, from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.  The instructional videos on her YouTube channel have received over 2 million views and her e-newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.  For other articles or to receive Gilda's e-newsletter, visit www.gildabonanno.com