The holiday season has come to an end. You might be all partied out, but your calendar says otherwise. It’s time to start networking again.
You can do this online on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, or in person at an industry event. I make sure to get out at least two to three times a month, not including my speaking gigs such as the upcoming SHRM Employment Law & Legislative and Talent Conference & Exposition that I will be presenting at.
Sometimes I attend HR events, including local chapter offerings. I also make it a point at least once a month to get out of my comfort zone at business events to meet new people and expand my knowledge.
Networking events are an easy way to meet new people in your industry. They are also a great way to expand your circle of friends and gain new contacts for future projects and endeavors.
Get the most out of the next networking event you attend in 2018 and spend your time there efficiently. Do more than shake hands and hand out business cards
Here are five ways to build rapport and make meaningful connections at a networking event:
1. Go Solo
Attend the networking event alone or distance yourself from other people there that you already know. It’s harder to meet new people when you are standing in a crowd of colleagues or friends. Go solo and be the first to connect with other people there that might not know anybody else.
2. Bring Conversation Starters
Think of a list of topics you can chat about at the next networking event you attend. That way, when you find yourself talking to somebody new, you will be able to carry the conversation through any awkward lulls.
3. Ask Questions
Build rapport with people you just shook hands with at the event by asking them questions. Find out more about their jobs, their companies and even their hobbies. Show interest in them to create relationships that last even when the networking event ends.
4. Set a Goal
Get the most out of the event by setting a goal for the number of people with whom you want to connect. That way, If the event is an hour or two, you’ll be aware of keeping conversations short so that you can meet a variety of people.
5. Arrive Early
Be early to the event so that you can start conversations with people as they arrive. Also, locate your business cards so that they are handy.
Finally, use your social networking to request a meetup. For example, you could tweet or LinkedIn message me to meet at the Legislative, Talent or Annual conference this Spring and Summer.
Looking forward to meeting you!