5 rules for successful networking activities
While networking cocktails are a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and meet new people for some, for others, it is a source of stress, an obligation that comes with signing an employment contract. So what can you do to turn this stress into a positive and enjoyable moment? Here are our five sure-fire tips!
1. Don't sell your salad...fill a need
Many people still believe that the ultimate goal of networking events is to sell themselves and bring home as many business cards as possible, when in fact the opposite is true. The goal of a networking event is more about making connections (usually with three to five new people). To do this, put yourself in empathy mode and see how you can help the other person. Find out about their needs, their objectives, their clientele, and their vision. This approach will benefit you.
2. Get ready
A few days before the event, learn about the host company, its members and the guest of honour, if applicable. Do some research on the Web and social media to learn more about them (their accomplishments, missions, etc.). This way, on the night of the event, this information will be very useful and reduce your stress level.
3. Enter and introduce yourself
For some people, walking in the door is the most frightening step. To make a successful entrance, first, take a few deep breaths before opening the door, stand up straight and put on your best smile. Once inside, don't rush to the buffet or bar, but rather take the time to "study" the room. You will then be able to better identify the people who are open to meeting others. Step forward and ask if you can join them (politeness is always appropriate). Then say your full name, your title, the name of the organization you represent and your connection to the event. You are ready to conquer the evening! Little tip: during the evening, hold your glass in your left hand. This way, you'll always be ready to shake hands.
4. Say thank you before leaving.
When you have completed your mission and are ready to leave, don't forget to thank the organizers of the evening. A very simple gesture, but one that will be greatly appreciated.
5. Do your follow-ups
When you return to the office, take the time to follow up with the people you met. Send a personalized email, offer your services, share relevant information, suggest having lunch to discuss in more detail a topic that was vaguely discussed at the cocktail party and join their LinkedIn network.