There are some basic tenets of networking on which everyone can agree: make eye contact, shake hands with confidence, be ready with your business card, and follow up. But there’s more to a successful networking event than a firm handshake. There are real logistics and tactics that can help you conquer your personal obstacles and network like a pro.
Sweaty Palms, the Handshake’s Confidence Killer: If you’re new at working a room, or you’re an introvert that gets a little clammy in a crowd, sweaty palms can kill your event experience before you can say “Hi, My name is.” If you suffer from palm sweats, make sure to keep some hand sanitizer or small alcohol wipes with you. Not only will you be avoiding the common cold, but the alcohol in the hand sanitizer or wipes will help dry out your palms and keep your handshake ready.
It’s All in a Name: Speaking of “Hi, my name is,” before you enter any networking event, you will likely have to fill out a name tag. How much information to include on that little sticker can be a tough decision – first name, last name, first name and last name? The tone and size of an event can influence the appropriate choice, so your best bet is to hang back for a moment and steal a few peeks at the name tags of the other attendees. If everyone is going formal (first name, last name, company), do the same. If it’s a first name only kind of affair, follow suit. If you are in a more casual setting and have room to spare, add a little quip or title that can get people talking.
Digital Readiness: Business cards are still a principal currency of any networking event, so make sure you bring enough and know how to easily reach them. But in today’s world, your social media presence can be more important, and more requested than a high-gloss business card. Before you attend your event, make sure your social media presence is an accurate representation of who you are and what you want to achieve. Take some time before you begin your networking quest and curate your digital image. Not only will it create a more lasting impression if you’re prepared to connect digitally with a new contact, but you also won’t lose your hard-earned contacts when someone searches for your name after the event.
Networking is a crucial part of any career, so being prepared to present your best self is critically important. Use these tips to make a lasting and positive impact at your next networking event.