Networking events happen in all types of formats like a sports activity, happy hour, mix-and-mingle or formal dinner. They are typically unstructured, meaning there is no set agenda, but they can be! The purpose is typically to learn about something specific, meet new people, interact with potential mentors or just to spend some time with colleagues and friends. We encourage you to also view it as an opportunity to practice sharing information about yourself, building rapport and making small talk.
How do you meet or connect with others at a networking event?
Below, we’ve created a set of guidelines to help you. Feel free to use them to your advantage!
Start with a smile and a hello, introduce yourself. This is a great opportunity to practice your elevator pitch!
Make sure to remember names and use them during the conversation.
Stay focused on your conversational partner by actively listening and giving feedback.
Maintain eye contact. Try not to glance around the room while he or she is talking to you, since it will look like you are trying to get away.
Put your cell phone on silent and don’t bring it out.
Take time to look at business cards and treat them as valuable.
Before entering a conversation that is already in progress, observe and listen so that you don’t disrupt or say something that has already been said.
Ready to move on? Use some of these ideas to gracefully end and exit an ongoing conversation. After you say your exit lines, simply look and walk away.
It was great to meet you.
I really enjoyed talking with you.
It was very helpful to learn more about your field.
Thanks for taking the time to come here and tell me about your job.
It was very nice to meet you.
If you’d like to follow up:
May I get your business card or contact information so I can reach out about (SOMETHING THAT APPLIES TO WHAT YOU DISCUSSED)?
May I give you my card so you can let me know about (SOMETHING THAT APPLIES TO WHAT YOU DISCUSSED)?
If you’d simply like to move on:
Excuse me, I’m going to use the restroom.
Excuse me, I’m going to get some food.
Always remember to follow-up, especially if you promised you would of if you collected someone’s contact information.