Networking Event Tips and Tricks
How to be Successful
Networking is an art, and there’s a way to master it. The saying, “It’s all about who you know” holds true to this day. Expand your network to create long lasting relationships to help you thrive in the business world. If you are someone who is looking to improve your networking skills, this page is the place for you. These tips are designed to help you succeed at networking both online and at events. Over the years, PAC has gathered some tips and tricks we’ve learned to help you excel at networking.
We organize over 50 events every years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two to three events each months and here is our list of advice on what to do and not to do when you are attending a networking event.
Networking events are great places to meet new people and find potential connections. Going to events is an excellent way to new meet people who you can also work with. PAC and Professional Connector hosts over 50 events a year, ranging from networking events to expert panel Q&A’s. The most common question we receive regarding events is “What should I bring?” Here is a list of how to be successful at networking events:
- Bring your business card – enough to hand out
- Dress to impress – you never know who you’ll meet
- Have a goal – ask yourself “Why am I going?”
- Bring a positive attitude – make a good first impression
- Bring your social skills – remember what you are there to do
While networking events are great to go to, there is a method to the madness. When PAC hosts networking events, we always get the question of “What should I do?” or “What do I do now?” Here are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to networking etiquette.
- Bring business cards
- Ask yourself why you’re going
- Discuss commonalities
- Be a listener
- Ask questions
- Follow up within 72 hours
- Focus on quality, not quantity
Bring Business Cards: Bring your business card to hand out to the people you connect with. This is important because the person you connect with will have all of your contact information and the necessary means to get ahold of you
Ask Yourself Why You’re Going: What is the purpose of you attending this event? What are you trying to get out it? Establish your purpose before you go, and try to fulfill your goal during and after the event.
Discuss Commonalities: Discussing commonalities is important for the reason of seeing if it makes sense for you both to connect. It is possible that two people can be in completely different fields of work, but have a commonality that connects them.
Be Listener: First and foremost, listen to others. No one likes someone who only talks about themselves without giving the other person a chance to talk. Listen to what others have to say and engage in healthy conversation.
Ask Questions: This goes along with being a listener. Ask questions about people’s lives and maybe you’ll both know the same person. If you don’t ask someone questions about themselves, they might think you are not interested or don’t care.
Follow up Within 72 Hours: You hand out your business card to people you like for a reason. Utilize their contact info and reach out with an email or a request to connect on Linkedin. Sending a simple message saying “It was nice to meet you at the networking event” goes a long way.
Focus on Quality, not Quantity: At networking events, you are probably not going to meet everyone there. With that said you are probably not going to like everyone you meet. Focus on connecting with one good person rather than trying to meet everyone at the event.
As we’ve seen some great actions that help you succeed at networking events, we’ve also seen what not to do when networking. Here are some of or big do nots when trying to expand your network.
- Don’t be a card dealer
- Do not be a “product pusher”
- Don’t be a stalker
- Don’t ask for a job
- Don’t go with friends
- Don’t discuss inappropriate topics
- Don’t brag
Don’t be a Card Dealer: The reason for bringing business cards is to hand them out to select few. You don’t want to pass them out like candy. The goal of the night should not be for everyone at the event to have your business card, only the people you want to connect with.
Don’t be a ‘Product Pusher’: A product pusher is someone who tries to sell their product to the guests at the event. The event is not your time to sell your product or service. However, it is an opportunity for you to partner with someone who is interested in helping you sell or investing in it.
Don’t be a Stalker: There may be a person who is high ranking in their company or a well-known businessperson, but they do not want to be followed around. The purpose of networking events is for you to meet others you like
Don’t Ask for a Job: It is a myth that people go to networking events to hand out jobs. If you are in search of a job, connect with someone who could potentially put you in a position to help you find one. Asking for a job after meeting someone 30 minutes prior is not the time.
Don’t Go with Friends: Everyone has a different opinion on this idea. From PAC’s point of view, we have noticed that friends usually tend to stick together rather than branch out to meet new people. Move out of your comfort zone and try to attend an event alone, you never know you who might meet!
Don’t Discuss Inappropriate Topics: Networking events are the time to meet new people and find new connections. It is not a time or place to discuss controversial topics or engage in a discussion that could lead to an argument.
Don’t Brag: Finally, don’t brag about yourself. There is a fine line between talking about yourself versus bragging about yourself. If you have an accomplishment that you are proud of, find an appropriate time to bring it up. Maybe your accomplishment can inspire or help someone else fulfill their accomplishment.
While there are some tips and tricks to networking, it isn’t magic. Have fun, be yourself and meet new people. We hope these do’s and don’ts will help you in your networking events to come.If you are living in the San Francisco Bay Area and looking to network with other professionals, check out our calendar of upcoming events and get the best out of your networking skills to see upcoming networking mixers hosted by Professional Connector as well as our other future events!