Networking that works: where to go and what to do
Ready to connect with others in your industry and see where it takes you? Here’s a rundown on some worthwhile types of networking functions – and what you should do while you’re there.
Where to go
Remember the saying about the early bird getting the worm? If you’re someone who’s at their best in the mornings, you could be that bird. You’re catching potential clients or employees while they’re fresh, and before they get bogged down with emails, phone calls and other distractions. Rise and shine!
These give you a great opportunity to learn from leaders in your field, ask them questions directly, and be in a room with other likeminded professionals.
After-hours meetups and drinks
A casual environment can make it a lot easier to chat and get to know contacts. Just be careful where there’s alcohol involved – remember that you want to make a good impression!
Who doesn’t love the comfort of skipping the face-to-face stuff and networking digitally instead? If you’re a novice networker, LinkedIn’s many groups and forums can be a great place to make new contacts and keep in touch with those you’ve already met. If you’re attending a function, consider connecting with speakers or attendees on LinkedIn beforehand.
What to do
Think ahead and prepare yourself for the event you’ll be attending.
- Do your research (on speakers, attendees, businesses, competitors and industries) so that you come armed with relevant discussion points. This shows you’re knowledgeable, interested and serious about what you do.
- Practice an elevator pitch that: introduces you and explains what you do; mentions what you’re currently working on; and gives examples of work or clients. End your pitch with a question to keep the conversation flowing.
- Be vocal about your career interests and goals. These conversations will help position you and lead you to like-minded people.