After a year of being limited to virtual networking, we’re finally seeing in-person networking events make a comeback! Networking can serve as a major game-changer for you and your career but, after a year of limited face-to-face interaction, you may feel like your networking skills are rusty! However, with the right mindset and preparation, you can make a lasting impact at networking events that will help advance your career!
If you’re planning on attending any in-person networking events soon, here are five ways to stand out:
Go in with a goal
Before you attend a networking event, ask yourself why you are attending to begin with. Are you looking for a new job opportunity? Hoping to build strong connections in your industry? Having a clear goal in mind ahead of time will help you stay focused and keep you from wandering around aimlessly during networking events!
Make sure you’re attending a variety of events
Regardless of why you’re looking to attend networking events, make sure you’re attending both industry-specific and general career ones. It’s important to attend events that are tailored to your industry because you can connect with professionals who can give you insight into the latest trends and news in your field. On the other hand, it’s just as important to attend more general networking events because it could lead you to opportunities and connections you may not have known about otherwise. Making quality connections is key, but keep in mind that quality can be found in more than one place!
Be a good listener
During networking events, you may be anxious to sell yourself as best you can. While you definitely want to stand out, remember that one of the most successful ways to do so is by being a good listener. People love to be heard, and someone who feels like you value what they are saying will be more invested in reconnecting with you in the future. During these networking events, make sure you’re actively listening by asking important questions about what people around you are discussing.
Offer your help
It’s important to go into networking events not only asking ‘what’s in it for me,’ but asking how you can help others reach their goals too. Of course, you want to come out of networking events feeling like you’ve made your own professional gains. However, you also want to show new connections that you’re just as committed to helping them find success as you are to finding your own. Whether that’s giving out career advice or offering your time for a project, keep in mind that generosity can go a long way throughout your career!
Once you’ve attended a networking event, always follow-up with anyone you made a strong connection with. Whether that’s connecting on LinkedIn with a personalized message or meeting up for coffee to discuss new career opportunities, it’s important to show that you’re credible and trustworthy, as well as someone your connections want to work with in the future. Cultivating these types of business relationships takes time and dedication, but you’ll be grateful you did it once you’ve made successful and valuable connections!