Until you’ve been to your share of them, networking events can feel a little unnatural. Questioning how to introduce yourself, who to introduce yourself to, how to get the conversation started. However, networking events are important. 70% of jobs are found through personal relationships. Whether you’re looking for a new career/job or forging new business relationships, networking and connecting is a crucial part of many roles across a plethora of industries.
Jo Krause, Manager at Six Degrees Executive has put together some of the Dos and Don’ts of how to network and take advantage of these opportunities.
Do – Show Sincerity and Interest
Ask questions. Have a few good ones ready to go, and make sure that you’re an active listener. Some of these questions could include:
- How do you like working for your company?
- What projects are you currently working on?
- What was the path to get to where you are?
Don’t – Force the conversation around work
Networking isn’t solely about your career path, it’s about forming connections with people. If the conversation goes off topic, don’t try to steer the ship too much – organic connections will be remembered.
Do – Work on your introduction
A good handshake and your first and last name. Wait for the other person to respond prior to sharing more about yourself – current/previous work and your position. This helps to contextualise where you are in your career, and where you can fit into that person.
Don’t – Forget to bring business cards
Although everyone has their phones on them, business cards are still a professional and proper way to connect with people. Don’t forget them.
Do – Follow up
If you have mentioned to someone that you should catch up over, have a quick coffee, it’s important to follow this up with that person. Sticking to your word is a great foundation to building these relationships, and sends out the signal that you’re true to your word.
Don’t – Stay in a conversation that has run its course
Part of being a good networker, and effective in social occasions, is understanding the end of a conversation. Gracefully excusing yourself is perfectly acceptable.