Networking has gotten a bad reputation.Networking can be—and should be—a positive experience. You just need to approach it with the right attitude and the proper mindset.
Here are five things that you should plan to accomplish at your next networking event.
Be the friendly, approachable person that everyone seeks to find at a networking event.
View the event as an opportunity to make a potential new friend. It may be helpful for you to know that about half of the people in the room are introverts just like you given that that is how the population breaks down. There are a lot of people in the room who are looking for a friendly face to talk to, and there is no reason that friendly face can’t be yours.
Make up your mind going in that you don’t need to try to meet everyone.
Decide to strike up 3-5 quality conversations over the course of a 2-hour event. Offer your card and ask them for theirs and ask about what they do instead of going straight into your pitch. Give the other person a chance to talk first. Then, they will feel more comfortable and will want to reciprocate by listening to what you do or what you are looking for when they finish.
Look your best, and you will feel more confident.
Take the time before every event to dress for success and then go in with a feeling of confidence and competence.
Have a notebook handy so that you can take notes if needed, and listen attentively.
Perhaps you know someone to whom you could offer an introduction. Making introductions is as important as having others offer introductions to you.
Follow up after the event.
Don’t just collect business cards for the sake of collecting business cards. Call to make a date for coffee. E-mail the person letting them know you enjoyed your conversation with them.
Now get out there and network with power and purpose and meaning. You will enjoy it a lot more, and it will be a lot more productive for you and your job search