Whether you are a candidate looking for a new job or someone simply looking to build your professional network, connecting with people is a great place to start. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Annex hosts events throughout the year to bring together IT and management consulting professionals. We know the importance of networking in our industry, so we always carve out dedicated time for people to connect with each other and grow their professional relationships and network. Here are tips for networking at events.
Build real connections
The is the first and most important rule of networking. Do not monopolize a conversation with facts about yourself or what you do. People want to feel they are talking to someone who is genuinely interested in them, so ask questions to get to know the other person and what they do. Think of this as being interested, not interesting.
Remember to smile
There is nothing like talking to someone who looks bored, tired or sad. A smile goes a long way in establishing rapport and a general sense of openness. Plus, have you ever noticed that if you smile at someone they smile back?
Listen first, talk second
Joining a group of people already in conversation can be intimidating. When you are approaching a group, take a couple of minutes to listen to the conversation. Then, acknowledge a key point to supplement the conversation rather than diverting the conversation to you.
Bring a friend
If you are nervous, or maybe not the most extroverted person, bring a friend. A friend can help make you feel comfortable interacting in a crowd, and may even attract others to join your conversation.
Make a new friend
Abandon strict agendas and try to at least make one new friend. If you go into an event trying to generate new leads or impress future employers, you may be applying too much pressure to yourself. Try instead to have a goal to be authentic and make one strong connection on a personal level.
This is a great way to network. If you volunteer to run a booth or even help at the registration table, it gives you the opportunity to meet with a variety of people and have something to talk about. This is a great way for more introverted people to network.
Set a Magic Number
Set a mini goal at every event you attend by determining the number of people you want to talk to or business cards you want to give/receive. Then go out and achieve that goal no matter what. Do not forget to reward yourself afterwards – chocolate is a great choice and we are fond of Purdy’s Chocolatier, established in Vancouver in 1907!
Regardless of whether you are a beginner at networking or a seasoned professional, reaching beyond your social circles is an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and grow both professionally and personally.
Give it a try by attending one of Annex’s upcoming events. View Events.