Attending networking events can be quite a daunting endeavour especially if you are not used to meeting new people and putting yourself out there. However, there are a few steps you can undertake to facilitate communication at networking events and portray yourself as a serious business professional looking to connect. Knowing what not to do is a good starting point in figuring out how you can make the most out of attending networking events. Here are 5 common mistakes people make when attending networking events.
Talking Too Much About Yourself
This is the number one mistake people make when attending networking events and it happens far too often! Remember, no matter how interesting your business and life are it is extremely unlikely anyone is going to be closing any deals or signing any contracts with you after only talking to you for a short period of time, so there is no rush in telling people everything about your business and yourself. The goal of these early conversations is for you to gauge whether the person you are talking to is someone with the same mindset, someone you would want to work with and if they are someone who can actually help you advance professionally. This is why listening is just as (if not more) important in this context.
2. Being Unprepared
This is a particularly easy mistake to avoid, however still all too common. Coming unprepared to a networking event can result in you completely wasting your time. Do your research before attending! Read up on the company putting on the event, find out what demographic will be in attendance and know why you want to attend this particular event and what you want to get out of it. Make sure you have your business cards with you and are dressed according to the dress code if there is one.
3. Waiting for People to Come to Talk to You
You are almost guaranteed to get absolutely nothing out of attending if you just stand somewhere trying to look approachable and wait for someone to come over. Human beings like groups, if they have the choice between joining a group of people happily engaging in conversation or talking to the one person standing alone they will pick the group. This is what you should do too, find a group and politely introduce yourself. You are already at the event so don’t just stand in the corner and wait for someone to approach you!
4. Drinking Too Much
One of the many perks of attending networking events is that they often have free alcoholic beverages. Drinking at a networking event is absolutely fine if anything it loosens people up and makes them more open to conversation. However, there is always someone to ruin the fun by drinking excessively. Don’t be that person. Know your limits, it can be hard when the drinks are free but a networking event is really not the place where you want to test your limits.
5. Not Following Up
Don’t forget to follow up with the people you connected with at the event. You will probably wake up the next morning with a nice little stack of business cards from the people you met. Go through them and see who’s worth contacting for a follow-up meeting.
Now that you know what not to do at a business networking event you should be all set to get the most out of every networking event you attend. Remember to come prepared, engage in conversations, drink moderately and follow up.