The purpose of networking is to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with industry professionals. Networking is a two-way process: you need to think about how you can help others before you can expect help in return.
Below you will find a list of tips to use during a networking function.
‘How to work a room’
Diana Carroll, Managing Director at DIANA P.R. offers the following 10 top tips for managing the mingling:
1. Be prepared – Know the who, what, when, where and why of the function. Why are you going? Who do you want to talk to? What do you want to achieve? Remember to take your business cards and a pen.
2. Practice – Create an engaging self-introduction and practice it at every occasion. Be open, be interesting and be sincere.
3. Arrive early – Have a chat with the organisers; rescue a wall flower (is anyone standing alone?)
4. The three Es – Energy, effort and enthusiasm. Look like you want to be there; look like you’re having fun. Be positive, be friendly, and make everyone feel special.
5. Say something – Have the courage to converse. Plan conversation starters and know how to find areas of interest. Remember, everyone loves to talk about themselves.
6. Be positive – Negativity is never attractive. So, never criticise the speaker, the venue, or the food – you could be talking to the caterer.
7. Be polite – Good manners open doors. Always RSVP (respond to the event invitation); remember to thank the host; always follow-up.
8. Act as a conduit – Invite the person with you to meet others.
9. Avoid the sleaze factor – Dress appropriately; behave properly; leave on time.
10. Thank you and goodnight – Know when to leave a person, a group, a function. Use something like: ‘It’s been lovely talking with you; enjoy the rest of the evening’.
Remember that the most important aspect of networking is to follow up the contacts you have received. Place a phone call, send an email, or book a lunch and the person you just met will get a more lasting impression; this shows professionalism as well as respect for the time the other person took to meet you.