Whether you’re on the hunt for a new job, looking for potential business partners within a certain industry, or simply trying to expand your contact list, going to a networking event can have many perks for you. But while these events can prove to be very fruitful for a lot of people, they can also feel like a waste of time if they’re not executed properly. So to help you truly make the most of your time spent at a conference venue, here are three ways you can maximize the outcomes of networking events.
Go In With A Mission
There’s usually a lot going on during a networking event. People are milling all around the room, small group discussions could be taking place, and contests or addresses could be going on. With all these distractions, it’s easy to just wander around the room without really having anything to grab onto. So to keep this from happening to you, Laura Katen, a contributor to TheMuse.com, suggests going into the event with a goal or mission in mind. This could be as simple as meeting four new people or getting one solid lead. As long as you can state what would constitute a successful event for you, you’ll better be able to reach that goal for yourself.
Reach Out To New Contacts Promptly
If you take advantage of the environment at networking events, you’ll likely leave the night with at least a few new contacts. But unless you do something with this new information, it could all end up going to waste. For this reason, it’s important to have a plan as to how you’ll reach back out to these new contacts and stay at the forefront of their minds. According to Amanda Haddaway, a contributor to WorkItDaily.com, it’s best if you try to reach back out to your new contacts within 24 hours or so after the event. This will show to them that you truly value your connection with them and are willing to do what it takes to nurture it.
Give Out A Handshake
Walking into a room filled with unfamiliar faces can be intimidating for many people. Especially if you’re not particularly outgoing, it can be challenging to know how to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. So to help start you off on the right foot, John Rampton, a contributor to Entrepreneur.com, advises always starting things off with a handshake. A firm handshake can be a great way to break the ice and put your conversation on the right path from the get-go.
If you’re planning to attend a networking event soon, use the tips mentioned above to help you make the most of this professional advancement opportunity.