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7 Top Networking Tips for Today’s Professional
Have a purpose for attending the networking event in the first place. If you are attending the networking event to meet a specific person, make sure that you ask the organizer to introduce you to the person. If you are going because you want others to notice you and your brand, ask an intelligent question, or make a comment that adds value. If you are attending because you want to build your professional network, think about who are some ideal contacts for you. In other words, set clear, measurable goals.
Play to your strengths. If you are an introvert, and you see someone standing by him or herself at the event, chances are the person is an introvert as well. Approach the person and introduce yourself. The other introvert will really appreciate the kind and thoughtful gesture. Ask questions and listen to the answer, this is something that introverts are good at. If you are an extrovert, and you see an introvert standing alone, approach him or her, introduce yourself, then introduce the person to others. This way you get to meet others while helping another person.
Arrive early. Many people arrive just at the start of the event, or even late. Don’t let that person be you. There is truth to the adage that the early bird catches the worms. When you are early, you get to meet the host, the speaker, and other attendees who arrive early. And the conversations are less rushed, so you get to know a person much better.
Volunteer at the event. The registration desk is a good place to meet others, especially if you are an introvert. You can also ask to volunteer as an ambassador. In this role, after someone has registered, you walk her into the room, introducing her to the speaker, or a group of people. The person will remember the gesture.
Exit conversations gracefully. You have a purpose for attending a networking event, so you owe it to yourself to accomplish your goals. If you find yourself in a conversation that’s going on and on, ask for the person’s card, then invite them to meet another person you know, or have met already. Excuse yourself, then work on achieving your goals for attending the event. Before you move on, find out if it’s okay to connect on social media.
The Dos and Don’ts of Networking: Avoiding Common Mistakes
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