Whether you're transitioning to a new job or starting a business, networking is absolutely essential towards making sure that your professional life is healthy and ready to rise to new levels.
If you've never hosted or attended a networking event before, you're likely nervous about what's to come. These events are actually easy to navigate if you're aware of some of the following tips.
Tips for Hosting a Networking Event
When you're getting ready to host your first networking event, it's important that you look at this as an opportunity.
If you want to bolster your credibility among seasoned professionals within your industry, holding a successful networking event can do wonders in this regard.
There's a lot that goes into hosting a networking event, but if you pay attention to some key guidelines, the event should yield positive results.
The Choice of Venue is Key
One of the most important aspects of any event is the choice of venue. No matter the industry you work in, the networking event you host should be held in an appropriate or upscale venue that's easy to find, and is outfitted with an ample amount of parking.
Consider hosting the event in a luxurious hotel, as many are equipped with lobbies and patios that make for wonderful spaces for event hosting.
You'll also want to choose a venue that provides access to a bar. By selecting the right venue, you're off to a great start as a host.
Make Sure That Check-In is Easy and Efficient
No one likes going through the process of checking into an event that they're attending, so it's important that you make this process as quick and efficient as possible.
To address this issue, don't spend too much time on one person. If someone isn't comfortable giving their e-mail address, don't push the matter.
You'll also want to have name tags on hand and make sure that any greeters are professional and friendly.
Meet Everyone Who Attends
You'll want to meet each and every person who attends your event, making sure to be as attentive to them as possible.
Welcome them to your event and listen as they tell you about their business. This will go a long way towards making each guest comfortable and the event a success.
A successful event for a host is measured by how many connections were made. If you spot a writer in the room, introduce them to any publishers in attendance.
If there are any IT specialists on hand, you might want to connect them with companies who are in need of such expertise. Make note of any connections you make so that you can follow-up in the future.
Follow Up With Attendees
Whether you're hosting your first event or your fifteenth, following up with your attendees is one of the most important facets of any networking event.
Ask each guest how they felt about the event and take note of any suggestions they make on how it could be better. If you follow each of these tips, your networking event will be successful for everyone involved.
Tips for Attending a Networking Event
No matter which industry you work in, you'll likely be invited to attend networking events on a regular basis. You should sign up to attend most of these, as successful networking will pay dividends.
Once you sign up, you don't want to just show up, grab a bite to eat, and hand out your business cards, as the connections you make with other business professionals should be more than just surface level.
Set a Networking Goal Before Attending the Event
Before you attend the event, make sure that you set a networking goal for yourself. Just ask yourself why you're going to the event so that you can know how to accomplish these goals.
This will also help you to stay focused and attentive during the event, as you'll have a good idea of what you're looking to accomplish and gain from the event.
Dress in Professional Attire
While some industries tend to be filled with people wearing casual attire, particularly those involving technology, dressing to impress at a networking event is always a good idea.
You want to make a good impression on other professionals at the event, and dressing nicely is one of the quicker ways to do so. It should also help boost your confidence during the event.
Make Use of Business Cards
Even though this is such a basic tip, many professionals who attend networking events actually forget to bring business cards.
Always take more than you need and keep them inside a case so that it's easy to take one out and hand it to a new business acquaintance.
Make Sure Your Introduction is Strong and Effective
First impressions are oftentimes lasting impressions, which is why your initial introduction to other attendees should be strong and effective.
Always make eye contact and keep a smile on your face as you tell the person your full name. Your handshake should be firm but short.
Once you tell them your name, make sure you listen intently for theirs and use it a couple of times during the conversation that follows, as doing so will let the other person know that you're genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Don't Forget to Jot Down Notes
When you're networking at one of these events, the connections you make with other professionals are intended to continue in the future, so don't hesitate to jot down notes after meeting with a few people.
Just write down a few details on the back of each business card you receive about the person you talked to, what you talked about, and anything else that will come in handy when making a follow-up in the future.
These guidelines are short, simple, and easy-to-remember. They will go a long way in increasing the effectiveness of your future networking efforts whether you're hosting or attending an event.