- PRE-PLAN – If you can find out a bit the host, sponsors, attendees before the event, do some research before you arrive to have some conversation starters ready.
- DRESS FOR COMFORT FIRST – You can be fashionable as well, but remember your priority is to work. If you feel uncomfortable, you will not be at your best when you meet people.
- ARRIVE EARLY – Fashionably late is bad for business. Just like at your day job, networking takes work. Arrive 10-15 minutes early so you can introduce yourself to the host and the helpers.
- TALK TO WHOEVER YOU SEE FIRST – If you can’t arrive early, talk to the first person you see as a warm up. Doesn’t matter what you say, just ask some questions about the event, the weather, traffic, etc.
- FOCUS ON ONE PERSON AT A TIME – At networking events it is tempting to look over attendees shoulders to see if there is someone else you would rather talk with. It’s rude and condescending. So don’t do that.
- KEEP CONVERSATIONS SHORT – You can’t make lifelong friends at one event. Your goal is to find out a little about everyone at the event. Not have a 90 minute conversation with one person.
- CONNECT OTHERS – Once you’ve made your way around the room, go back and introduce others who should know each other based on who you just met.
- TAKE NOTES – Use the back of each person’s business card as a note pad to write down follow-up information. If they don’t have a card, use your own.