How To Survive a Networking Event!

Posted on March 21, 2016

In my second book, Welcome to the Real World, I discuss ways to make the most of your first job after college. The largest chapter of the book (by far) is the networking chapter. It’s about triple the size of any other chapter. The reason? It’s about networking! Networking is necessary to get the jobs we want and to build the businesses we want. Here are a few ways to survive your next networking event:

  • Push Yourself To Attend. It’s the end of the day, you are tired. The last thing you want to do is go to a networking event, I know! But push through it and if you’ve committed to going, get yourself out the door and to that event. You can put a clock on it. You’ll only stay one hour – fine. Just get yourself there.
  • Make a Goal For Yourself. How many individual conversations are you going to have tonight? Typically this number depends on how many people you know at the event. If you are going to know several people once you arrive, you’ll probably make the rounds and talk to a decent amount of people. However, it’s when you don’t know anyone else going that you should really make this goal. And it can be a low goal, how about three meaningful conversations? You can leave once you have three meaningful conversations and exchange contact information with those three people.
  • Do Your Research. I hate when I arrive at networking events, realize it’s actually a bigger deal than I thought, and I have no idea who is actually in the room. Do some preliminary research on the conference or event website. If there is anyone you know going, connect ahead of time and plan a meet-up. If there is someone going that you really want to meet, try reaching out ahead of time to plan a time to connect or to exchange phone numbers.
  • Follow Up The Next Day. You may go to a lot of networking events but if you don’t follow up with the people you meet, it’s worthless. Make a point to go through your bag the next morning, email the people you met just to say hello (unless you have specific questions or items to follow up about), and save their contact information. Once you do that, get rid of the card, you don’t need the clutter.

For more networking tips, check out my book Welcome to the Real World.

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