Be a Pro on the Networking Tour
Networking might be the most important thing you do at conferences and other events. There are a number of dos and don’ts you should follow to be a champion networker, says Tamina Zaheri. These include “eat less, talk more”: “[I]f you’re going to eat dinner at a networking event, eat quickly and get it over with as soon as possible. Clear up your hands and your teeth so that you can get to meeting people without awkward plates and drinks in the way.”
Do your research and don’t jump around.
Research what kind of individuals might show up to this event. Is a specific organization hosting the event? Will certain people be there? Do your homework so you don’t feel lost as soon as you enter the room.
Jumping around from conversation to conversation without getting anything more than a business card can be a networking-killer. As soon as we think someone can’t help us out in our endeavors, our flight instinct kicks in, and we try to jump to the next crowd. Try not to do that. You could lose valuable connections because you brush them off too soon. Even if you don’t want to work with an individual, there is no telling if they could connect you to someone who could be your next mentor.
For more tips on networking, see Zaheri’s article, “5 Steps to Make the Most Out of Networking” at Praxis, August 11.