Throughout my career, I have spent a significant amount of time networking and making connections in the association industry.
Networking is a time commitment but most of the time is free. Networking can provide you with long lasting connections with people that you can learn from in some way. Building a solid network would help you for years to come.
During a networking event, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of why you are networking. Following are three quick tips:
- Set challenging yet attainable goals.
- Know what you are hoping to gain –are you networking to find a new job, information, a referral, advice, or a sale?
- If available, review the registration list prior to the event so you can plan who you might want to connect with.
- Have a goal of how many people you want to connect with during the event. Plan to “work the room”.
- Be Authentic:
- Be yourself.
- Tell your stories.
- Smile, ask a question, listen and be yourself!
- Make sure you exchange contact information and have information readily available.
- Say the persons name. Use the person you meet name in conversation.
- Ask for an introduction.
- Pay attention to the person you are talking with.
Show up and be the best version of you. You only get one first impression.
INVEST IN YOUR ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT JOURNEY – Looking for small networking events to share your challenges confidentially? Looking to gain knowledge of innovations happening that could advance your organization? Need personal or professional guidance? Looking for education that can help you with your career?
Then join a community of top association executives who are passionate about connecting people, learning and leading at www.orgcommunity.com.
Great comments, Sherry…. most people just waste their time and others time during most “networking” sessions. That may be fine in a purely “social” session, but even then, most attendees are there for a purpose, and it often gets lost in dealing with others who really don’t have any interest in “networking”. In one organization I belonged to we had what was termed “networking with a purpose.” You had to have fifteen of your business cards to give out, and you had to exchange them for 15 business cards of individuals you had never met before that event. After doing that exercise, you could talk to whomever you wanted to. The next day, those of us who had engaged in that exercise, got together to review whom we had met and discuss whether or not there was value for others to also get to know those individuals. You can’t do that all the time, but it was very successful, and it is something that you can do on your own, even if your colleagues do not also participate.