As a young professional, you have a lot on your plate. Whether you’re launching your own business and need to create contacts that will help your company, you’re new at a corporation and need to impress your colleagues so you can move up the corporate ladder, or you’re simply looking for ways to enhance your networking skills so you can connect with more people, it’s important to understand how you can get the most out of networking events. One of the simplest and most valuable steps you can take is to focus on making a great impression. It’s no secret that first impressions matter. This is especially true in the business world. If you’re looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, there are five fantastic tricks you can use at your next networking event.
1. Dress nicely
Never underestimate the value of dressing nicely. Wearing appropriate, professional clothing shows that you take your job seriously. As a result, other people will believe you’ll show that same level of respect in every area of your life. When you attend a networking event, make sure you consider the venue and the type of event and dress appropriately. Remember that if you aren’t sure what style of dress is expected, you can reach out to the event organizers ahead of time and simply ask.
2. Check your posture
When you meet someone new, do you slouch? Do you slump your shoulders forward? Do you cross your arms over your chest? Make sure you stand up straight and demonstrate good posture when you meet new people. This is one of the most effective ways you can show other professionals that you’re serious about yourself and your company. Standing up straight demonstrates confidence and it shows that you are self–assured.
Related: The Importance of Networking as an Entrepreneur
3. Have an opener
Have you ever met someone who always seemed to know exactly what to say? One of the best ways to make a good first impression is to have an opener you use to get peoples’ attention. You could share something about yourself, have a question you ask the other person, or simply have a topic related to business that you bring up. No matter what you choose to talk about, having something to say ensures that you don’t have dead air when you first connect with someone.
4. Understand your goals
Make sure you know what you’re hoping to get out of the networking event. Are you trying to meet people you can work with in the future? Do you want to connect with other professionals in your area? Are you looking for people you can simply grab lunch with from time-to-time? Knowing what your goals are for the event can help you better interact with the people you meet.
Related: Four Essential Tips for Networking with Investors (And Where to Meet Them in Atlanta)
5. Be friendly
Make sure you smile and act polite at a networking event. Be friendly! Ask questions, demonstrate a genuine interest in what people have to say, and make an effort to be approachable and interesting. Friendliness goes a long way in ensuring that people not only have a good time but that they remember you once the event is over.
Even if you aren’t experienced when it comes to networking events, it’s possible to create a lasting first impression that helps you stand out. At your next event, make sure you prepare as much as possible. Even small things, such as dressing nicely and standing up straight, can have a huge impact on the way other people perceive you and interact with you.
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