Know who will be attending the event
- If possible, learn what employers or contacts will be there in advance.
- Study the companies attending.
- If those attending aren’t publicly listed, call someone to find out who will be there.
- Be on time for introductions and explanations to identify others you may want to socialize with.
- Develop a list of people you want to meet or converse with.
Bring business cards
- If you don’t have business cards, you can make them or get them cheap at places like http://www.vistaprint.com.
- Don’t go too cheap – (Printing on your own card stock and cutting with scissors)
Don’t let the new contacts be forgotten
- Bring a tool to keep track of who you meet (Phone, tablet, notebook etc.).
- Connect with people on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook – Use tags).
- Collect business cards.
- Even if you didn’t converse with someone you wanted to, connect with them on LinkedIn by saying, “I was in the networking meeting with you yesterday and was unable to speak with you, I would like to connect here on LinkedIn.”
Be the first to ask
- Don’t start a conversation with “My name is….I am looking for….Can you help?”
- Show interest in others before asking for help.
- Ask questions like: “Tell me about yourself.” “Where did you get those shoes?” Who made your business cards, they are really creative?
Suggestions are welcome, “You should…” are to be avoided
- Don’t speak in absolutes, “You should…” “You need to…” “Go to Indeed.com or KSL.” Instead, offer your insights by saying “I have found that there are a lot of great smaller company jobs listed on KSL. I have had great success there.”
- Always find out what people know before telling them what they ought to do.
Serve without the thought of receiving
- Some people feel anxious in social environments. Don’t expect everyone to be able to come up with your next big break or job lead. Help them feel comfortable by giving them your attention and helping them any way you can.
- If you see someone on the sidelines, try to involve them.
Follow up with your new connections
- Send thank you notes or call your new contacts to tell them thanks for speaking with you.
- Contact people who were suggested to you by others then let the referrer know you did so by sending them a thank you note.
Joining or starting a conversation
- Approaching a conversation between two people may interrupt a private conversation.
- Join conversations of 1, 3 or more.
- Don’t interrupt a current conversation with a new subject.
- Be positive- problem solve rather that gripe. If you have a concern or complaint, ask people “what have you done in similar situations?”
- Avoid “How’s it goin?” or “Wassup?” as your starter. No further explanation needed.
Don’t be a time hog
- Spend time with as many people as you can, don’t limit your interactions to one or two people or people you feel most comfortable with.
- Allow others to connect and speak with key guests. Don’t hold them captive so others can’t benefit from meeting them.
- If someone is taking too much of your time, politely move on by thanking them for their time, introducing them to another person, or saying, “I appreciate getting to know you. I am going to go introduce myself to this other person over here for a moment. Please keep in touch! You have my card.”