How To Network At Work Events
In today’s competitive work climate, networking is non-negotiable. While educational qualification, skill, and work ethic are all important to get ahead in your career, making the right connections can make a world of difference. That’s why it’s so important to know how to network at work events.
Here are a few tips to get you started on networking at work events where professionals other than your co-workers are in attendance.
If you want to network effectively, it’s important to arrive early to work events. Not only will this give you a chance to chat with the hosts before things get too hectic, but it will also allow you to scope out the room and identify potential contacts.
So, once you arrive, take a lap around the room and introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know. And if you see someone you do know, take the opportunity to catch up with them and find out who they know for later introductions.
Do Your Research
Before attending, do your research and find out what you can about those who will be in attendance.
While you can certainly choose to wing it, there’s always a risk of coming across as lost, uninteresting, or even offensive if you’re not familiar with the crowd. By researching, you can discover subject areas that can serve as effective ice breakers, such as a love of used cars or a shared alma mater.
But how do you research? Start by skimming the social media channels of guests. Then, see if you can find recent press releases about them. You can take things a step further and look for mutual connections on LinkedIn.
Dress for Success
When it comes to work events, dress to make a good impression regardless of whether it’s after-hours or during business hours.
Being under-dressed will make you look unprofessional, so if you’re unsure, it’s better to go with something more formal and dress it down with accessories, rather than the other way around.
Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing an expensive suit if it’s wrinkled and dirty; so make sure that all work clothes are cleaned and ironed.
Have a Goal
While it’s important to network for the long term, you should also have specific goals in mind for each work event you attend.
Do you want to meet three new people? Find a potential mentor? Get introduced to the head of your dream department? Whatever it is, having a goal will help you focus your attention and make the most of your time.
Finally, don’t forget to follow up with the people you meet after the event. An email is always a good idea, but if you exchanged business cards, consider giving them a call or connecting with them on LinkedIn.
Just try not to come on too strong. A simple, “It was great to meet you. I look forward to staying in touch” will suffice. Or, if you had a particularly interesting conversation, mention something specific that you discussed as a way to jog their memory.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to networking like a pro at all your work events. So get out there and start meeting some new people who will help advance your career.