1. Have a goal in mind when attending a networking event. You may go with a friend, but split up once you get there have a goal! Some examples of goals are:
- Meet three new people and get their business cards
- Talk to five different people about your career interests
- Find something in common with every person you speak with
2. Sample Questions to Ask/How to Start a Conversation
- Where do you work? What do you do there?
- What did you study in college?
- What are your future career goals?
- What advice do you have for someone like me trying to enter your field/industry?
- What do you do for fun in your free time? (ask follow up questions!)
- Did you watch (the Superbowl, the Olympics, etc.)?
- Where are you from originally?
- Have you attended this conference/event before?
3. How to Appropriately Leave a Conversation
- “It was great meeting you and talking with you…
- …I know we’re both here to network so I’ll let you talk to some other people.”
- …I hope to stay in touch– I’ll connect with you on LinkedIn!”
4. Nonverbal Communication and Body Language
- Stand at an appropriate distance from the other person
- Have open body language so that other people can approach you
5. Networking Etiquette
- Bring breath mints – not gum
- If there is food, try not to have your mouth full when speaking with someone – take small bites
- If they are serving alcohol, limit yourself to one drink
- Do not pull out your cell phone while you are talking to someone
6. Follow Up
- Make notes on the back of business cards you collect: what did you talk about? How will you remember them?
- Create a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone’s name, company, date, and what you talked about
- If you made a good connection, follow up with an email and connect with them on LinkedIn
Remember, you can network anywhere! At the grocery store, at a coffee shop or restaurant, at the gym/your fitness class, on public transportation, while waiting in line for something, or in the elevator! Just be yourself!