Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years we have learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 417th issue of our weekly a.blog.
To make the most of a networking event, it’s important to remember one simple rule: enjoy yourself. This means keeping your mind and your options open, as you’ll only hold yourself back if you stick too rigidly to a rehearsed script.
If you’ve ever struggled with networking events and you now want to get more out of them, keep these four items in mind before, during, and after the event.
Have a Clear Objective
Everyone is attending a networking event for the same reason; they’re looking to gain something. People are there to make a connection, have a conversation about what they do, maybe share an elevator pitch, and meet someone new they have something in common with
When talking, keep in mind that quality over quantity is always the best solution at networking events. You don’t need to talk to everyone in the room. Go to the event with a goal in mind. Maybe you want to leave with 5 business cards or give out 10 of your own? It can be something as simple as holding conversations with 3 different people. Whatever your goal is, work towards it. If you are tied into a conversation and you’re missing out on your goal of networking with others, politely excuse yourself and ask to continue the conversation on a follow-up call.
Have a Good Stock Opener
Approaching someone at a networking event and asking “How are you?” is a frequent conversation starter which can also be a conversation killer. If like most of us, you often respond with “Yes, I’m great. How are you?” the conversation won’t really lead anywhere. However, what if you were to ask “How was your week?” instead?Open-ended questions lead to better conversations.You find out more information about them and what they do, plus it gives you an opportunity to ask more questions.
Be Polite and Confident
Walk around the room with your head held high and if anyone makes eye contact, be sure to acknowledge them with a smile or a hello. If people are in circles and already engaged in conversation, don’t push your way in. If you can enter a conversation without having to ask anyone to move, join them, listen and simply ask a question to the person speaking about their thoughts on the topic. It shows you have an interest in what they have to say and helps to keep the conversation flowing. If you are interested in a conversation topic asking permission to join the group can be a viable solution. “This sounds like an amazing topic, may I join you?” can be a good introduction into the group.
Have a Process for Following Up
If you have managed to put all of that together and meet some people, here are our tips for making those ten-minute conversations spent at a networking event, the beginning of a possible working relationship:
- Use your database. Whether you collected paper business cards or QR codes in your smartphone, add that information to your contacts and don’t forget to note where and when you met and a word or two about what you discussed.
- Follow-up. Put each person you met into a category for a particular level of future contact. Do they need a simple “It was nice to meet you at…” or do they warrant an invitation for coffee or a request for an informational interview?
- Follow through. Did you offer someone assistance? Get in touch with them first thing the next business day so they know you were serious. And then follow through. It’s very easy to let offers like this fall through the cracks, those are missed opportunities.
- Send Linkedin invitations. Invite your new contacts to connect with you on social media. Be sure to personalize invitations and remind them where you met and what you talked about.
At Artisan Creative, we help professionals get the most out of their careers, which includes building a robust network. Check out our resources page or follow us on social media for updates on groups and networking events in the area.