The ability to comfortably network at events is a powerful skill for association professionals. It allows you to connect with potential employers, clients, and other professionals in your field. However, for some, the idea of networking can be daunting.
With networking events happening all the time, we thought this would be the perfect time to share helpful tips on making the most of all the great connections!
Here are thirteen tips to help you make the most of this, and future, events.
Association Networking Tips
Use these tips to make connections that will help you to make new friends, industry acquaintances, and even business partners.
1. Make a list of the people you want to meet.
When you have a clear idea of who you would like to connect with, it makes it much easier to seek them out at an event. Having a plan will also help you to make the most of your time at the event.
2. Do your research.
Before the event, take some time to research the individuals on your list. Find out what they do, their interests, and anything else you think might help you start a conversation with them.
3. Focus on quality.
Networking is usually more rewarding when you concentrate on who you’re talking with now instead of trying to work the whole room. A small number of mutually supportive relationships is more valuable than having a lot of superficial contacts.
4. Be friendly and approachable.
Smile, make eye contact, and be genuine in your interactions. People will be more likely to want to talk to you if you seem like someone easy to talk to.
5. Lead with value.
When meeting new contacts, ask questions and lead with value. People love to talk about themselves, so show that you’re interested in hearing about what they do. What can you do for them? How can you help them?
6. Listen more than you talk.
This ties in with leading with value. Letting the other person do most of the talking is important when networking. This way, you can learn about them and their needs. Only by listening can you hope to make a lasting connection.
7. But be prepared to share.
When talking to someone new, be prepared with something interesting to say. Talk about your work, industry, or anything else that you think would interest the person you’re speaking with.
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8. Offer referrals.
If and when appropriate, spread the word about businesses and services you like. Personal testimonials are more reliable than online reviews.
9. Pitch in.
Passing around food trays or joining the planning committee is a great way to make mingling easier at parties or parent meetings. Your contributions will be remembered.
10. Pay attention.
Simple gestures count too. You can make a positive impression by listening closely to what other guests say. Ask relevant questions and focus on their message instead of preparing your response.
11. Show enthusiasm.
Be sincere in your praise and avoid cookie-cutter compliments. If you meet someone wearing an amazing outfit, let them know! People will see through insincere flattery.
12. Explore mutual interests.
Your initial conversation may also reveal areas of common ground. Building relationships is often most successful when you have regular interactions like attending the same gym or volunteering at the same community center.
13. Follow up after the event.
Once you’ve made connections at an event, follow up with the people you’ve met. Send them an email, connect with them on LinkedIn, or invite them to coffee so you can continue getting to know each other.
In closing, remember that networking is all about making connections. The more connections you make, the more likely you’ll build great relationships and share resources.
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of the upcoming association networking events!
If you are looking to host a professional event, we’d be happy to help. Learn more about meetings at The Inn at Virginia Tech >>