Meet the Right People, Make the Right Impression
As the new year really gets going you might find your inbox full with networking event invitations! Whether it’s a small focussed gathering, a major industry event or a trade show, it’s a chance to build relationships not just in your current role but also to help you progress your own career in the future. Some people love networking and would happily attend an event every week, whilst others can think of nothing worse! It can also feel a little frustrating when you have so much to do back in the office, however by doing a little preparation in advance you can make it worthwhile.
Choose the Right Event
There are so many different events held throughout the year, and you don’t have time to attend them all, so making sure you choose the right one is really important. When doing your research see who is organising the event to get a good feel for the purpose of it and the likely content. Take a look at any speakers that are taking part too and any companies that have already committed to attending. There’s nothing more frustrating than attending an event that you find out isn’t relevant or useful once you’ve arrived!
Research the Attendees
Before you attend the event you need to do a little detective work! Normally you’ll be given a list of companies that are attending, or even a delegate list so you can know the individuals who will be there. LinkedIn is great for looking up key people in advance and learning what they do within an organisation. You can then create a little shortlist of people that you’d like to speak to or organisations that you’d be interested in finding out more about.
Have a Goal In Mind
When planning for the event you need to think about why you’re attending. Are you using it as an opportunity to make a career move? To build a business connection? Or simply raise your profile within your profession for future opportunities? Knowing why you’re attending will help you shortlist the people you want to speak to and make the most of your time there.
Work on an Introduction
The most daunting thing at networking events is that initial contact! Most will come naturally, however to give yourself a little more confidence work on an introduction in advance. It can just be something short covering your current role and company, and also why you’re interested in speaking and a little of the knowledge you have about their business. You don’t need to reel off a monologue of information, just having a few pointers in mind can help the conversation not to dry up.
When you meet a new person who just talks about themselves it can be tricky to build up a rapport! So make sure you have a few questions that you want to ask key individuals so you can get the information you need and keep the conversation flowing. If you’re interested in the organisation as a potential future employer, then make sure you make a great impression, asking insightful questions and listening carefully to the answers.
Focus on a Couple of Individuals
Try not to spread yourself too thinly during the event and aim to speak to as many people as possible as you may not build up the rapport you need or build the business connection that you’re hoping for. One of the most effective approaches is to target a small number of individuals that you really want to build a relationship with and try and make the time to really get to know them and for them to really get to know you.
Plan Your Time
Decide on a length of time that you’re planning to attend before you go. It helps to know the amount of time you have so you can make the best use of it, as arriving early and leaving at the end could make your time a little less productive. If you plan on attending various speakers then make sure you allow time to network in and around that otherwise you might leave feeling the event didn’t get you what you wanted.
Once you leave the event don’t simply head back to the office and forget everyone you’ve met. Whether you’re looking for a new opportunity or just looking to build a connection with another business for the future then you need to follow up. Drop a quick email if you exchanged addresses or connect via LinkedIn so you have a connection there and a relationship when you’re looking for that next step in your career!
Good luck, we may see you there!
Here at Optimum Recruitment Group we specialise in the recruitment of Accountancy, Finance and Human Resource professionals across the Yorkshire region. Let us help you find the opportunity you’re looking for, call 01904 208065 or email firstname.lastname@example.org