People greeting each other by shaking hands

How Can I Make My Best Impression When Networking?

Our Top Tips for Standing Out When It Matters

Attending networking events can be intimidating, even more so for the inexperienced, because we all want to make a good impression. But with the right tools, you can both enjoy the event and be successful with your meet-and-greet attempts.

Networking is so much more than the exchange of business cards and handshakes. It is about creating lasting relationships with people who can help nurture your talents and further your career.

By cultivating and nurturing this network of like-minded professionals, you have a ready-made collection of friends and confidants who can provide assistance, introduce you to new opportunities in your field, and connect you with the resources you need to succeed. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to provide your network that same help!

Keep these six stellar tips in mind, and your next networking experience will be much more successful and rewarding!

1. Listen

This may seem obvious to some, but it is very easy to forget to simply listen when you are in the moment and on a roll discussing the work you do (much less when nerves take over). Listening is also a key component to nurturing a relationship with the people you want in your network.

Of course, it is necessary to talk about yourself at networking events, but if you don’t listen, it’ll be very hard to create a relationship with new people. Listening helps you collect vital information so you know the appropriate people to call when you need advice in the future. People are also likely to be impressed and feel appreciated when you show interest in learning about them and their work.

2. Your Elevator Pitch is not an Advertisement

Elevator pitches can feel rehearsed and dry if you don’t make them an organic part of the conversation. If you move straight into your clearly memorized pitch right after introductions, it will feel like a commercial interrupting your favorite television show or podcast.

Instead, insert your elevator pitch into your discussions in a conversational manner, rather than making it sound like the stock presentation you repeat at networking events.

3. Share Personal Stories

Sharing a personal story or two can really start off networking relationships on the right foot. If you hope for these people to hire you one day or to help you find a job, they need to know you – not just what you’ve done.

This point also relates to Tip #2. If you can naturally weave your elevator pitch into the conclusion of your story, you’ve hooked your conversation partner with something personal before you reel them in with the pitch!

4. Smile

This is another obvious tip, but an authentic smile can really brighten up your conversations. If you come across as nervous or stressed, it may make others feel uncomfortable, but a winning smile can help ease tension and can be very inviting. Smiling is also known to improve your mood and relieve stress!

5. Follow Up

Always, always, always follow up. After events, it’s vital you reach out to your newly-found network! This helps you nurture the relationships and ensure they remember you. It’s hard for busy professionals to keep track of all the people they meet at networking events, so following up can help you stand out in their memory.

Send an email that includes your name, a personal detail you shared with them, and something unique about them from your conversation to spark their memory and grab their attention. Remember, you’re not the only one following up with them, and yours is definitely not the only email in their inbox. Make an impression!

6. Use Your Network to Network

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your network. If they don’t know the answer, they may know someone who does! This can quickly expand your network. The professionals in your network have valuable networks of their own, and they are usually happy to share contacts if you’re not afraid to ask.

Keep these tips in mind at your next networking event, and we’re sure you will succeed in all your efforts to meet other professionals. You may even run into someone from Wellington Group, and we’d be happy to help you expand your network and create new, lasting relationships!