We’ve all heard the proverb; it’s not what you know but who you know. Meaning, sometimes to land that job, contact, contract, client, etc it is your connections and network that makes it happen, sometimes outshining your skills and abilities along the way. A great way to build and enhance your professional connections is to attend networking events.
Networking events are a great way to build social skills, meet a vast amount of people and of course the opportunity to make professional connections. I have to add emphasis to opportunity because many times you blindly attend and lose focus of the original goal.
As the Fall school year gets under way, remember these 6 tips before attending your next networking event.
1. What’s your purpose?
The purpose of going to networking events is to build professional contacts. Sometimes people go for different reasons, like just to meet people or gain social skills. Before attending know what your purpose is. Have a goal. Are you going to make new friends? Are you going to find job opportunities? Are you going to get new clients? Once you have your purpose, it’ll be easier for you to maneuver at the event.
2. Are you physically dressed for the part?
How many times have you gone to a party or event and you are under dressed or overdressed? Or how many times have you gone somewhere to only look like everyone else or the odd ball out? Before attending your next networking event, remember to dress the part. You don’t want to come to a professional setting displaying what your mom genetically passed down to you, but you don’t want to be too boring in your clothing either. Best way is to stick to the ‘usual’ business casual attire while showing your personality through color choices, accessories and hairstyles. For example if you feel you have on a simplistic outfit, skirt, pant and dress shirt how about playing with your color scheme or adding a statement necklace or watch.
3. Don’t be the sloppy drunk.
A networking event is not the club or the bar downtown. Know what your drinking limit is. You do not want to be that girl or guy who embarrasses themselves, the friends you are with or the company you represent. You really only have one chance to make a first impression, and you don’t want it to be because you can’t handle your own while drinking.
Suggestion: limit your intake to a two drink maximum and consider drinking water between the two.
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