Women2Women - Spring 2018 - 33

Making the Most Out of Networking Events
Regardless of personality type, it helps to have a game plan before any networking event
so that your time is well-spent and you leave with a sense of accomplishment.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
What is the topic? Do you know the participants? Will you be reuniting with former
colleagues? Depending on how you answer these questions (and others) will help you
mentally prepare for the event. Look over the agenda and list of attendees well ahead
of the event. Identify the sessions you want to attend or people that you want to meet.
2. SET GOALS
This is highly personal and situational, but setting a few goals will provide you with
focus during the event. For example:
* Develop a new skill
* Find a mentor or mentee
* Hand out 10 resumes
* Identify potential business partners
* Increase your own or your company's visibility
* Learn about your competitors
* Meet five new colleagues in or outside of your field
3. PREPARE A CUSTOMIZED INTRODUCTION
Rather than memorizing a canned elevator pitch, think about who you expect to meet and how you want to be remembered. Practice your introduction a few times so that it's natural and authentic.
4. BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER
Listening attentively to someone makes you look good and them feel good! Pay attention to what the other person is
saying and ask follow-up questions that show you are listening.
5. TAKE BUSINESS CARDS
It's amazing how many times you hear someone say, "I can't believe I forgot business cards." Despite the increasingly
digital world, people still exchange them. Make sure you take an ample supply that is readily available so you aren't
fumbling to find them.
6. TAKE NOTES
Put those business cards to good use. Jot down a few points about your conversation on the back of the card or into
your smart phone so you can recall the person and conversation later.
7. FOLLOW UP
After the event, go through the business cards you collected and follow up immediately by email or through a social
media invitation. Refer to the event and the specific item that made your conversation with them memorable. If you
promised them something - an article, an introduction, or a subsequent meeting - follow through on that commitment
to cement your positive impression.
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