Most networking events are held during typical working hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). However, there are the occasional evening events. While some events may be more casual than others, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor at all times. Check out these helpful tips for how to rock the room and make connections.
Cards for Contacts
Make sure you bring plenty of business cards, and can easily grab it out of your pocket or purse. You don’t want to be fumbling around in your jacket, or throwing things out of your purse to find a card. The business cards that you collect should also be put in an appropriate place.
Pro tip: Bring a pen to write notes about the conversations you had with people. If you don’t have a small notepad, you can write on the back of their business cards. Your phone is also a great place for notetaking!
Meet the Maker
Find out who the event planner/organizer is and introduce yourself to them. If the conversation goes well, they may introduce you to other attendees. Sometimes it’s easy to tell who organized the event, as they may give a welcoming speech at the beginning of the event.
Quality, Not Quantity
Networking isn’t a game with point values for how many connections you’ve made. The quality of the connections is the real value. Don’t hand your business card to every person at the event. Connections are made through conversations, therefore you should take it slow and steady.
Pro tip: The best way to connect with people is to find some common ground. Don’t lie about your likes or dislikes just to match theirs. If you both love animals or Harry Potter, geek out about it! (Two of my favorite things, by the way!)
Party like a Professional, not a Rockstar
The biggest difference between day and evening events is the presence of alcoholic beverages. If you are 21 years old or older, you should proceed with caution. While it may be tempting to overindulge the open bar, remember that’s not the reason you came to the event. You’re there to network and make professional connections. If you’re trashed, your business cards will be thrown in the trash by the people you just met.
Pro tip: If you’ve reached your limit or are not drinking alcohol, order a non-alcoholic drink that looks like a cocktail. This way you blend in, and people won’t offer to get you a drink.