Tips for Working the Room
Networking events are an essential part of expanding your professional network. Whether you are looking to simply increase the size of your contact list or make a connection in relation to an upcoming change in your professional environment; the networking event is an important feat to conquer. In this blog post, we will identify 5 tips for any professional hoping to leave an impression at their next meet and greet, job fair or networking event. From personal introductions to mastering your elevator speech, we have all you need to know.
Check your attitude:
Professional networking events are not meant to be your personal vent fest. Regardless of your frustrations at work or on the job hunt, it is imperative to leave a positive impression on the individuals you meet. Keep in mind that if you lead with your unhappiness at work you will be remembered for your poor attitude, and instead of leaving your new contacts with the desire to help, they may in turn be left wondering if your unhappiness is a product of your own doing.
Interact with strangers:
When a professional is attending a networking event it is not the equivalent to Friday night cocktail hour with friends, but rather a mingling of like-minded business professionals. For this very reason, it is crucial to step out of your comfort zone to interact with strangers while leaving friends behind. Keep in mind that networking events are designed to bring new personalities together to forge mutually advantageous professional relationships; if you attend an event with a friend it could prevent you from leaving the familiar to seek out new contacts.
Prepare your introduction:
Be mindful of the persona you are trying to create and run with it. As always, be truthful, sincere and attentive while remembering that professional networking is a two way exchange of information and is not solely about you. Be prepared with a question or two you can ask new people you meet to get a conversation going.
Don’t t fear rejection:
Whether you are a business executive with decades of experience or an entry level professional, it is critical to realize that rejection is not something to be feared. Be sure to keep a thick skin, a healthy sense of humor and constant sense of professionalism; it will consistently set you apart.
Give your elevator speech a lift:
An elevator speech is an age old way of self-promotion. Regardless of where you are in your professional career, you must consider your strengths and value as a professional, and discover the best way to disclose those strengths to new contacts at networking events. Feel free to write your elevator speech for reference, but be sure to practice it out loud several times prior to the event. You don’t want to sound stiff or trip over introductions.
These tips are only a handful of the ways any professional can find success in expanding their professional network. Use the tips to prepare for your next networking event and you will be sure to work the room like a pro and capture the attention of everyone you meet.
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Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee