YP Perspective on Networking: How to make the most out of it.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014on
Networking events. Free appetizers, usually free alcohol, and a fun excuse to leave the office a little early. But as relaxing as they can be after a long day’s work, networking events can also be daunting and intimidating if you don’t know anyone or are not the first person to strike up a conversation. After thinking about it and reading through some articles, I have come to realize that networking is nothing more than just building relationships with other people in your community. If you’re a social person, this comes easy; if not (and are more of a wallflower), here are some tips on how to get the most out of networking: 1. Set a goal. Are you there to “rub elbows” with the big Execs? Looking for some new referrals for your business? Or maybe you just want to create some friendships with people your age and in your industry? Know what you want to leave with before going in. 2. Relax. Just have a conversation. Don’t give your spiel or pitch right off the bat. Get to know the person you are talking to. Sometimes we don’t even remember that person’s name because we were too busy trying to think of something to say instead of listening. 3. Be professional. Even though it may seem like a more social, informal setting, you are there to represent yourself professionally. It’s okay to talk about personal hobbies or interests, but remember that this person just met you and first impressions are pretty permanent. 4. Take your business cards. When you do talk with that individual that could potentially help your business and even be a good contact for the future, make sure to give them your card and ask for their card. A conversation can be forgotten, but if you follow up with that person, a connection can come from that. 5. Keep attending the networking events. This is where a lot of people, myself included, drop the ball on the potential of networking. If you only go to one event, you probably will not meet many people, nor will they remember you the next time you run into them. In order for networking to really work for you, you need to continue going to the events. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not what you thought it would be; give it time. Say hello to the people you met before, but also try to meet new people. The more you go, the more people will start to know you. There are different reasons on why networking can be beneficial for you. Whether you’re trying to find a new job, get more business for your company, or just wish to be more visible in your city, networking can be fun and bring forth opportunities and relationships. So, get out there and meet someone new! You never know what can come of one conversation. (Don’t be afraid – everyone starts somewhere.) Here are three articles to refer to if you’re new to the whole networking experience: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Get-the-Most-Out-of-Networking&id=1710819 http://ruthalade.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-networking-events/ http://www.helpguide.org/life/job_networking_how_to_find_job.htm Check out the Greenville Chamber’s Calendar for the next Business Before Hours, Business After Hours and more networking events! Brittany Baughman is the Community Relations Coordinator at Webster University in Greenville. She is responsible for the recruitment efforts and public relations activities of the campus. She and her husband, Jonathan, currently reside in Greenville.