How To Network Without Stalking

BreakingModern — Networking can be hard. Especially if you’re new to the game. You want to meet everyone you can, you want to have meaningful conversations and you want to follow up like a rock star. But when you arrive at the event, you find the crowds overwhelming. You feel like a stalker trying to get the attention of the bigwigs in the room. And at the end of the night you walk away with a pile of business cards that you know will just end up gathering dust in a desk drawer.

Don’t let this happen.

Here are five tips to help you meet new people (and more importantly meet important new people) at your next networking event and follow up in style, all without feeling like a used car salesperson. (No offense to our 2004 Saab-slinging readers.)

how to network group shot

1. Be Early

When it comes to networking events, there’s no such thing as fashionably late. The earlier you arrive, the better. Think about it: At the beginning of a networking party the crowds are smaller. People are still finding their nametags. No one’s had the time to cluster into little groups. You’ll find it easier to strike up conversations with the other early birds. Plus, you might get some face time with the organizers before the rest of the networkers arrive.

2. Ask for Introductions

The organizers put a lot of time and money into the event — they want it to be a success. They probably also know most of the people in attendance. Odds are they’ll happily introduce you to whomever you want to meet (especially if you compliment all their hard work for putting together tonight’s event first). Not only does this make it incredibly easy to get in front of the people you want to talk to, it also makes you appear more credible. Having someone in power introduce you is surefire way to impress a new acquaintance.

3. Connect Others

By the end of the evening, you’ve probably met people who can help each other. Take a moment to connect these two without asking anything in return. With a room full of people all devising ways to get something, the fact that you are giving something will stand out. Remember, you are building a network — taking a moment to help others today may pay off months or years from now.

how to network nametag

4. Know When to Walk Away

Networking isn’t a numbers game. But you want to make sure you have the opportunity to meet a good amount of people at every event you attend. Don’t spend the entire evening glued to the side of the first person who talks to you. That just looks desperate. Keep the conversation going long enough to learn about someone’s business, explain your background and services and share a few anecdotes. Then move on. This also lets you end the conversation on a call to action. For example: “It was lovely to meet you. I’ll drop you an email this week about that job opening.” Which brings us to …

5. Follow Up With Style

You’ve made all these great introductions, it’s time to turn them into relationships. Most experts recommend you follow up within 24 hours of the networking event. Don’t obsess too much about your follow up note. Most conversations merit a quick “it was great to meet you!” email. Use a tool like Boomerang for Gmail to bring the email back to your inbox each quarter, reminding you to touch base with your new contact again. But, if you felt you had a more meaningful connection, by all means take the follow up email to the next level. Say you’d love to meet for coffee to further discuss that upcoming project or job vacancy.

Follow the tips above, and you’ll be the one everyone wants to talk to at the next networking event.

For BMod, I’m .

First/Featured Image Credit: Tech Cocktail DC Winter 2011 DSC_7076” by Tech Cocktail via Flickr Creative Commons Group

Second/Header Image Credit: Hi Tim” by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr Creative Commons

Helen Anne Travis

Author: Helen Anne Travis

Helen Anne Travis covers travel and lifestyle at BreakingModern. Follow her on Twitter @Helen_Anne.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>