How to make networking work for you

How to make networking work for you

Remember face-to-face networking?

After two long years of networking via Teams and Zoom, while wearing tracksuit pants and slippers, face-to-face events are back!

Okay, so networking might not be for everyone, but it is one of the few opportunities you have to really connect with people on a personal level.

Everybody prefers to work with people they like and know, and this is your chance to become known.

Here’s how you can make networking work for you:

Get carded

Business cards may feel all a bit 1990s but they are still the best way to pass all of your relevant details to a prospective client in seconds.

At a recent event, we were advised to use LinkedIn instead of business cards. This led to ten minutes of everyone staring at their phones trying to find and add people.

Eventually, it ended in unanimous silent agreement that it was wasting far too much talk time and everyone sneakily returned to card swapping.

Be prompt

Get to the networking event a few minutes early and say thank you to the organisers, even if you have paid to be there (these people know everyone).

Then scan the attendees’ list. Pinpoint a few people you really want to chat with and note down their names.

You will hear so many names once the introductions start, you will struggle to remember your own. Everyone will be wearing a name tag so it will be easier than you think to find your targets.

Pitch away

Have your elevator pitch ready – this is your 30-second explanation of who you are and what you do.

Don’t forget to have answers ready for most likely follow-up questions. You don’t want to have a sensational opening line followed by panicked staring into the distance while you remember where your office is located.

Note that usual questions can include: Is it your own business? What kind of clients do you work for? What types of services do you provide? Or, if you are a copywriter like me: what does a copywriter do?

How to answer "Why should we hire you?" in a job interview

Don’t get too loose

Yes, free drinks are usually flowing at networking events and it can be tempting to have a second or third glass. But it is not a good idea.

Stay sharp, and remember that you’ll eventually want to meet with or work with these people in the future.

Follow up

The morning after the networking event is the time for LinkedIn ‘connect fest’. People are in work mode, they are sitting at their desk, and hopefully they still remember how charming you are.

Get out your stash of business cards and message everyone and let them know it was lovely to meet them. (Or, it might be novel to send them an email – here are some tips on the words to include in a networking email.)

If you discussed catching up or future work prospects, this is the best time to cement the connection. Mention specifics from your conversation to help them remember you, and suggest a time to meet or catch up.

Networking doesn’t have to be difficult, and hopefully by following these tips you’ll find the experience less daunting. Now, it’s time to get out there and start making those connections.

Melissa Brown writer SHE DEFINED

This article was written by Melissa Baldrey Brown.

Melissa is a Melbourne-based freelance copywriter and content strategist. She loves to write words that connect with people – real words that have real people smiling and nodding at their screens.

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