In-Person Networking Tips
Throughout the pandemic, many people in the professional world had to adapt to online collaboration and networking. Now, as lockdowns are being lifted, many of those people are adjusting to the switch back to in-person events. However, for a new generation of young professionals, this is the first time we have experienced in-person networking. Keep reading for some tips on how to approach these opportunities.
1. Do Some Research Before
Often, before attending networking events, it is a good idea to know who else will be attending. Especially if there are certain people you would like to connect with, it can be beneficial to look them up beforehand. You can learn a little more about their professional background and come up with some questions for them.
2. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
While face-to-face interaction allows for more fluid communication, it is still important to have an outline for your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second to a minute summation of who you are, what you do, and what you want to do. Having a go-to outline for your pitch can show the people you meet that you are prepared and organized. If you have done your research beforehand, you can also tailor your pitch for certain people you meet. If you meet someone who works in an area that you're interested in, you can highlight that interest within your pitch, as well.
3. Know Your Purpose
People attend these events for many different reasons, so it is important to know exactly what your reason is before attending. Whether it be searching for a job, learning more about an industry of interest, or just expanding your network, recognizing your objective will help you get the most out of the experience. If you're looking for a job, research can help you identify exactly who you need to be talking to and what questions you can ask. If you are looking to learn more about someone’s industry, think about what interests you about the industry and how you might want to fit into it. Knowing exactly what you want to gain can also help make you more confident and deliberate with all of your interactions.
4. Follow Up
No matter who you meet or what you discuss with them, always follow up afterward. Find them on LinkedIn or send an email letting them know how much you appreciate them talking with you. It can also be beneficial to request that you remain in contact, as you never know when you will need their guidance. Making these connections can help you to grow a network that you can reach out to if you ever need advice or an introduction.
In-person networking is a fantastic way to meet and learn from new people and can create a more real and meaningful interaction than networking online. Coming prepared for these events can mean the world to any young professional. So, don’t be intimidated to attend an in-person networking event. Just do your prep work, be confident, and have fun; you never know what could come of any conversation.
By Kristen Lopiano