The online world is abuzz with many online networking portals that facilitate offline group meetings in various localities around the world. For instance MeetUp is quite popular.
If you’re a college student, a good way to network is by attending seminars and conferences in your niche category. Generally, at a networking event, many people from various fields came together to meet and promote each other. Over the years, these communities have become quite popular. So, if you do get a call, here’s your quick guide on how to be prepared and showcase your best.
A networking meeting will have at least 30 people at any given time. As a first-timer, your host will introduce you to his / her immediate friends or who the host thinks may be potential business. There may be others who would like to speak with you as well. The core idea of networking is building relationships. It’s all about listening and learning about the other person.
Bonus tips: Don’t dominate the conversation. Connect with three people and follow up with them later. This way you can remember names better the next time.
Dress well & be on time
First impression is the best impression! You should really take these words seriously now. People judge you even before you open your mouth. It takes less than seven seconds for a person to determine if they want to do business with you or not depending on your appearance. Sometimes at networking events, CXOs or directors of companies are present only for a short period. If you’re late, you may miss the opportunity of meeting them.
Bonus tip: Dressing professionally boosts your confidence and gives you an edge over others.
Introducing yourselves – Etiquette
Maintain a good posture and smile. Make eye contact and shake hands firmly. This way, you’re going to exude confidence and instil the same in the person you’re meeting.
Bonus tip: Your business card represents you and your brand. The address should always face the person you give it to. Carry your cards in a holder and give them out only to persons you would like to do business with. Giving out too many cards may dilute your brand value.
During the event
Mostly networking events are interlaced with meals. Best advice would be to eat before you go. Because spending too much time at the buffet lessens your chances of meeting people. When your hands are occupied with the plate, you can’t even hand out your business card. Instead opt for a beverage or something light.
Send ‘thank you’ notes
If you’ve connected with someone who you are likely to do business with, send a polite ‘thank you’ note, acknowledging the meeting and the time they spent with you.
Bonus tips: Talk about neutral topics apart from business and steer clear of conflict. If there’s alcohol, drink wisely. Make sure you mingle, take part in any activity that has been organised and be prepared for small talk.