It’s a new year, which means you’re probably planning all of the wonderful industry events you’d like to attend in the coming months! Networking events are a great way for you to meet other Wedding Pros in your area, but it can be exhausting to keep up with a busy calendar, and make the most out of each event. And, for those who are more introverted, meeting a lot of new people at one time can seem daunting.
Whether you’re a networking pro or need a little coaxing when it comes to putting yourself out there, these 5 quick tips will help you master networking events in 2014!
- Clear your mind before entering the event. Many networking events take place in the early evening, after you’ve most likely had a long, arduous day at work. Be sure to check your negative energy at the door, or others might sense it! Even if you feel so tired you wish you could back out, go in with an open mind. Focus your mind on the task ahead of you – meeting new people and establishing relationships. If you can, try to give yourself a bit of alone time prior to the event to re-charge whether this is listening to your favorite music driving over, or stopping for a quick coffee prior to the event and enjoying it while checking out some blog posts or recent news from the day.
- Talk to people who are standing alone. Ever feel a bit awkward at a networking event? Everyone has at one point or another! If you see someone standing alone, strike up a conversation. They’ll be happy to have someone to talk to, plus you won’t have to worry about breaking up a group’s conversation by approaching multiple people mid-way through and introducing yourself.
- Repeat your contact’s name. While you’re speaking with someone, repeat their name back to them a few times during the conversation. It helps you to demonstrate that you’re paying attention to what your contact is saying, and you’ll remember names better that way. Two or three times per conversation should do the trick!
- Act as a facilitator for others at the event. Welcome others into your conversations by introducing the people you’ve spoken with to others. Try it by introducing each new person you meet to at least one other person, and soon you’ll know a lot more people! Also, by being the one who connects others, people will see you as resourceful.
- Personalize your encounters. The exchange of business cards is fairly standard at networking events, but you can make yourself more personable (and memorable) by writing your personal contact information on the back of your card and a quick note such as ‘Please be in touch!’Your new contacts are much more likely to reach out to you through your cell phone number or personal email address than they are a main company phone line.
Make 2014 the year you become a networking master!
For more networking tips, be sure to read our post on making the most of networking events.
Don’t have time to attend a networking event? Don’t worry! Connect with other Wedding Pros and share industry experience in our Pro Forums!
Photo by Adam and Emily Photographers