What’s Your Purpose? | How to Network at Events

Networking at EventsHow often do you attend events? Lately, I have been to at least two a week. How valuable that event is to me depends greatly on the people I meet there.

In February I attended an sfAMA networking event in San Francisco. It was a long way to go, but the people I met there more than made up for the drive. Why is that?

Well, I made a plan for the event. I set goals, and stuck with them.

Show up and be present. 
Don’t go to an event if you are going to stand in the corner and watch everyone else talking. Stand in the middle of the room. Be a part of the group. Events are only as productive as what you put into them.

Talk to 3-5 people. 
This may sound silly, but have you ever been to an event and gotten stuck talking to the same person all night. That can be fantastic, but at an event you should meet as many people as possible to expand your network.

Talk to the person standing all alone. 
Networking is a daunting task. I try to bring a buddy (wing-person) with me whenever possible to help ease conversations. When this isn’t possible, I like to talk to the person or people not in conversation. Everyone has an interesting story, and a reason for showing up. Learn why they are there, and how you might help them.

Be genuine.
Even strangers can tell when a person isn’t being authentic. Share your story in a way that may help someone do their job better.

I also find that knowing my purpose at an event is immensely helpful in achieving my goals. Lately, I am attending events with the goal of expanding my network to help find my next marketing communications job. Although, I am planning some events for the Silicon Valley chapter of IABC, and my goal at those is to evangelize the benefits of joining IABC.

What’s the key to your networking success?

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