After having spent the last few years attending networking events in and around New England, it’s been fun to learn about how people interact within the context of different groups. I find that often at networking events, people are either highly engaged and looking to talk to new faces, or find themselves lost in drinks just looking to have a good chat with buddies.
Whatever the circumstances, here are a few things that I’ve found to be useful when chatting at different networking events:
1. Try to Find Out Who Will Be At The Event
If you are able to find out who will be attending the event in question (either a name and company or their role) that will easily help you pick out people you’d like to meet with. Depending on what your goal is for the event, having an idea of whom you’d like to talk to will help you with that goal.
One of the best ways to find out who might be at the event is to either arrive early and look through the possible name badges on the registration table (if applicable). You could also look to social media to see who might have RSVP’d to the event via Facebook or LinkedIn.
2. When Networking, Try to Find Commonality Quickly
One of the best ways I’ve been able to successfully build great relationships with people from networking events are to try to find that one thing that can connect us personally. Maybe that is a similar love for skiing, a similar addiction to running, whatever it may be try to find that “me too!” moment.
One trick to finding out that personal commonality is to start by asking about something fun and exciting this person has done recently or something they’re currently passionate about. That could spark really interesting conversation and lead to that moment of personal connection.
3. Be Okay with Disqualifying People
If a conversation with started with an individual and there just doesn’t seem to be much mutual benefit or connection, don’t be afraid to let the conversation go (politely, of course) and look for someone to chat with. The odds are, while you are thinking about how to get out of the conversation the other person likely is as well. Do yourselves both a favor and politely excuse yourself.
4. Always Keep Conversion Short
Most networking events, even with only a couple dozen people, tend to become crowded and sometimes quite noisy, making it very hard to hear. Not to mention, most people want to use this chance of networking to actually have multiple conversations. With that said, don’t feel compelled to hear someone’s life story (or share yours) on the spot.
Use the networking opportunity as a chance to briefly share and determine if a conversation after-the-fact is appropriate. The goal of meeting someone at an event should be to just get a chance to connect later.
With these networking tips in mind, I do hope your next networking event will be a great one! If you like this article, I’d love a comment on the social platform that you saw this on. Thanks for reading 🙂