As a professional, you’ll find that networking events can be the key to your success. Networking enables you to reach out to a variety of people you might not have otherwise met. You’ll be able to talk with brands, meet new people in your field, and maybe even make some friends. Networking events are a great chance to start communicating with people in your area. You may work together in the future, or you might enjoy spending time in the same professional circles. Either way, building a professional reputation starts with networking.
What if you’re shy, though? Many professionals find the idea of networking to be quite complicated or even intimidating. Fortunately, no matter what your professional background might be, there are several steps you can take to start networking like a pro. Here, New York-based digital marketing company WNY Holdings LLC shares three of those steps.
Set goals before the event
Make sure you set specific goals for the event you want to attend. For example, aim to talk to at least five different people at a mixer. You could also set a goal to hand out at least ten business cards at a vendor event. No matter what your goals are, make sure you understand them and that they are specific. Vague goals, such as “I plan to talk to people,” won’t help you move forward professionally and may leave you feeling unaccomplished.
Make it a priority to attend local networking events. Whether you want to connect with brands or colleagues, go out of your way to attend networking events regularly. Try attending several different types of events to find a style that works for you. You may find that professional conferences are your favorite kind of event, or you may find the intimacy of a mixer or dinner event to be more suited to you.
Never go to a networking event empty-handed. Always prepare a set of questions ahead of time; this will help you carefully start conversations with people you’ve never met. Sometimes just starting the conversation is the hardest part. By bringing some ice-breakers, you’ll find that talking becomes a breeze.
No matter what field you’re in, networking offers an assortment of benefits. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and start connecting with other professionals in your area. A bit of preparation and a great attitude will go a long way in helping you succeed.