10 Tips on how to expand your network and leave a lasting positive impression!
1) The Event – It’s important to do your research about the event. Find out who is sponsoring and attending the event. Go to the website of the organization hosting/sponsoring the event and learn as much as you can about it. (i.e. list of attendees, vendors, etc.)
2) Define your objective – Ask yourself why you are attending the event. Have a goal or an objective for being at the event so you walk away feeling like it was a productive use of your time.
3) Linkedin.com – If you know who will be attending and you have a target list of people that you want to meet, then make sure you find their profiles in linkedin.com and learn as much as you can about the person. It will impress them and they will be more inclined to talk with you.
4) Create Personalized Business Cards – Don’t forget to order your business cards at www.vistaprints.com. They are free for the first 250 cards. When you are creating your cards leave the back of the card blank so you have room to write your contact’s information on the card.
5) Answer the question – “Tell me about yourself?” Prepare your 2-minute elevator speech about who you are and why you are attending the event. Rehearse it and/or role-play with another person before the event.
6) Quid Pro Quo – Remember networking is about sharing personal and professional information by having personal and professional conversations. So don’t forget to have a dialogue. You don’t want to dominate the conversation.
7) Communicate your own message – Don’t let someone else tell your professional story. You personally will need to communicate about who you are. Don’t rely on others to do it for you. It’s important to converse in a natural way.
8) Be Positive – It’s important to always have a positive attitude. People like to meet and talk with people that are easy to converse with, have interesting things to say, and who listen. Have fun at your events and bring a friend if you feel nervous about attending.
9) Appearance – Always dress and act professionally. The way you communicate verbally and nonverbally will leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet. Make sure your cell phone and PDA are turned off and that you remain engaged with the person you are talking to.
10) Next Steps – Make sure you get their business cards and/or contact information. That’s why it’s important to bring a lot of business cards. Some people forget to bring them. You should contact them within a 24-48 hour period. It’s important to ask your networking contact how they would like you to stay in touch with them.
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