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Networking Tips

By Nicole Battles

I have hosted a number of networking events, and it is always clear who is good at networking and who is not.  Those who are, engage in conversation and work the room to meet as many people as possible. Those who are not, tend to stand by the wall or talk only with a few people they already know. Regardless of which group you are in, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your next networking event.

 

  • Get a beverage. This will keep your hands busy and out in front of your body. Alcoholic drinks are fine, just be smart about it and limit yourself to two. If there is food, eat when you do not have a beverage in your hands. This will keep one hand free for handshakes and eliminate the awkward juggling of a drink and a plate…and the inevitable spill.

  • If you are looking to connect with someone in a particular practice area or firm, ask the event host if they could point someone out to you. They usually know the attendees well and can even make the introduction for you.
  • If the person you are looking for is speaking with a group, feel free to walk up and introduce yourself to the group and join the conversation. If they are speaking to an individual, it is best to hang back and wait until their conversation has wrapped up before introducing yourself.
  • Use a firm handshake, look them in the eyes, and introduce yourself with both your first and last name. If you have seen them speak somewhere or met them at another function, mention that as well. 
  • Bring plenty of business cards. Hand them out to people you want to connect with later. After the event, make notes on the back of business cards that you received to help you put a face with a name.
  • Have a goal. It could be a number of people you want to talk with, or just to get a contact in a specific practice area. 
  • Go in with an open mind. If you go in only looking for job leads, you may miss out on other potential resources. You never know who will be a useful contact in the future.

 

Next time you attend a networking event, put these tips to the test to make the most of your experience. Have any tips that have worked well for you? Post them below.

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