Have you ever attended an event, be it business or pleasure, and noticed one of those ladies (or gentleman!) who just owns the room? Effortlessly captivating everyone she meets, this networking goddess floats from sparkling conversation to sparkling conversation making moves and doing deals. Oh how how does she do it? It’s easier than you think and all about preparing in advance so you have the knowledge and confidence to shine like the star that you are! So you too can radiate at your next function, here are my tips for networking like a pro. Enjoy!
- Do your homework: Say for instance you have a budding career in interior design and are attending an art gallery opening that has a VIP guest list – aka future clients and industry contacts you could only dream of – whip out your laptop and do some research on the ladies and gentleman you wish to meet. By getting smart and savvy on their background, you’ll be able to have a better understanding of their careers, discover commonalities and plan ahead on how you’ll break the ice and meet them. *Note: When chatting with people at the event, aim for the conversation to be natural (if they bring up a commonality – they also attended Stanford – chime in that you too went there, and bask in your days as a collegiate, as opposed to you rattling off their resume and appearing, dare I say, like a bit of a stalker.
- Plan and prioritize: While you aim for your networking skills to be beautifully organic, make a plan of who you want to meet, and prioritize the peeps in order of who is a must-meet and who is a nice-to-meet. You’ll likely be busy engaging in gorgeous conversation (be proactive and introduce yourself!) and it will help you stay focused and hopefully meet the VIPs on your list.
- Brush up on conversation etiquette: Take a quick peek at my conversation etiquette post so you can dazzle those you meet and have them in awe of your gift of gab!
- Exchange cards: At the end of each conversation, exchange cards so you have each others information. Also, be sure to stash plenty of cards in your handbag so you’re perfectly prepared.
- Follow up: In the event there is an opportunity for collaboration or you’ve hit it off just famously, strive to follow up within a week of meeting, and let them know how much you enjoyed your conversation.