Networking events—they’re back! As you start to attend more gatherings, are you prepared to show up for yourself and others? Today we’ll be exploring concrete steps to ace networking with the three A’s: Attire, Arrival, and Attitude.
These three areas are the key to building a strong networking foundation:
What is the dress code for the event? The expected dress code may have changed from pre-pandemic times; double check that you know what is expected. Make sure you have something in your closet that will work well in advance.
Add some color in your attire or something unique so that people can find you in the room. You want to be professional in your dress, give yourself some distinction, and be memorable.
If the event does not contain a designated networking timeframe, plan to show up about 15 minutes prior to the start of the event to network. This means you need to physically be in the space, not a parking garage. Give yourself enough drive, park, and walk time to get there early.
Come to the event prepared by identifying individuals who you would like to reconnect with or who you would like to meet for the first time. If you’re not sure, check out the name tag table to see who’s signed up to be there.
Choose to be happy. We all want to meet people who look happy and who seem genuinely interested in meeting other people. Don’t wait for someone to engage you. Engage others first.
If you’re trying to approach a group of people, look for groups of three or more people or someone standing by themselves. In general, don’t approach a group of two people, as they are more than likely in an in-depth conversation already. Find a group, make eye contact with someone, and smile before heading their way.
End your interaction by saying, “It was nice to meet you. I enjoyed our conversation.” If there is a meaningful reason to reconnect, consider exchanging business cards. If not, simply say you hope to see them again at a future event. Be pleasant, cordial, genuinely interested in them, and respectful of their time.
Networking can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You can ace networking with the three A’s. Find more networking tips here in our post “Return to Networking with Confidence.” Consider bringing in our custom program “The Business of Networking” to your organization, which contains practical tools for your team. And remember, Lead to the Max!®