7 Things To Bring With You To Networking Events
Whether you’re a student, a professional, looking to hire new employees, seeking new job opportunities or just want to simply grow your network, networking events like The Hip Haus can benefit you. However, it’s not just about showing up, talking to a few people and handing out as many business cards as you can. You should come prepared, just like you would for a job interview, you never know who you may meet and you want to present well. What should you bring when attending a networking event?
Networking can be awkward when conversations feel forced, but remember, everyone is there for the same reason – because they want to network. Don’t be “that” person, avoid the fake awkward smiles and cutting conversations very short. Listen actively, connect and be genuine. The Hip Haus provides “ice breaker” questions at each of our monthly events to help you initiate a conversation with someone (use these to get to know each other aside from the who, what, and where questions) and engage on a more personable level to help you carry the conversation further.
- Have a Plan
Know who you are, what you want and what you want to take away from the networking event you’re attending. If you know why you’re doing something, you’ll be more inclined to actively pursue the goal and have direction in doing so. Go in with a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish at networking events. Are you looking to build your network, find a new employer or new employees? This will also help you have some control of the conversation and allow you to verbalize and reciprocate the important points of interest, but remember to actively listen.
- Who are you?
Get to know yourself. Twitter only allows 140 characters because people want quick information and not everyone has the attention span or time anymore. The same goes for conversations, have a simple, clear and informative introductory and share the conversation. Have a clear understanding and ability to tell people who you are, what you do, what your goals are, where you want to be in the future and why you are doing what you do and/or even why you’re attending the event. This ties into being authentic, you don’t need to list off points from your resume, just have some transparency with yourself.
- Keep an open mind & Listen
Have an open mind with everyone you interact with and actively listen. Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking and intimidating if the recipient of the conversation doesn’t seem engaged. Of course, you’re eager to get your business cards out and talk about yourself, but that won’t make a great impression to build a strong relationship. Remember to ask open-ended questions, express interest in what the other person is saying and leave your impact.
- Business Cards
One of the most common and simple ways of providing your contact information and allows people to follow up with you on the conversation you had is business cards. They are also a more professional approach and timesaving rather than looking for a pen and paper to scribble down your information (not to mention penmanship can be an issue!) Whether it’s personal contact cards or corporate business cards, they are more memorable and influential.
- A Pen or two
As simple and common as it is, you never know when you’ll need it and stopping a conversation halfway to hunt down a pen can be annoying. It also shows that you are prepared. How often have you walked into class or a meeting and not having a pen handy sets you back on jotting down important information? Even though you or the other person may have business cards, making notes on their card about the conversation you had is helpful.
It’s simple. Just smile. Be welcoming and inviting and you’ll have more opportunities to engage with people because you will look more approachable. The basic laws of attraction come into play here, you will attract what you are, (or seem to be.) The more open and welcoming you are, the more people you will attract and leave impressions on, to help you network.
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Carl W. Buehner