How to Start Conversations at Networking Events

Your first networking event can be nerve-wracking and awkward. And unless you’ve prepared well in advance, your first instinct will probably be to flee. However, if you are job hunting or trying to grow your business, attending networking events is one of the best ways to establish valuable and lasting contacts. The more individuals you meet and talk to, the more the opportunities that will come your way. So how do you introduce yourself? What are the ways to start a conversation with strangers? How can you keep the conversation alive?

Don’t worry. We’ll tell you some easy ways to start a conversation at a networking event and make an excellent first impression. And, most importantly, we`ll share some tips to make sure you are memorable even after the occasion.

start-a-conversation

Where Can You Start Networking?

To find the right people to network with, you should know the type of events going on around you and choose the ones you think would be beneficial. Such events provide opportunities to network with different kinds of people and can even help you find jobs that are not advertised online. Examples include:

  • Job fairs: for companies to find new potential hires;
  • Professional conferences;
  • Workshops;
  • Trade fairs;
  • Students & alumni events;
  • Professional association programs.

How to Find a Networking Event?

Now that you are aware of the kinds of events you should be attending, the next question is, how can you find them? You have to keep your ears and eyes open as these opportunities can pop up from places that you least expect. One way to find these events is by talking to friends or colleagues. Ask your friends and co-workers about professional fairs or conferences they are planning to go to or have already attended. You could also get good recommendations from your career mentor. Other ways include:

  • Visiting networking websites, e.g., Eventbrite, Eventful, and Meetup;
  • Subscribing to email newsletters and following relevant organizations on social media;
  • Join affinity or alumni organizations in your college;
  • Visit local community establishments.

What to Start With?

Become the Icebreaker

Once you identify an event you want to go to, you should use the days leading up to it to practice starting conversations. Begin by creating a great elevator pitch. It should essentially summarize who you are professional-wise. Practice opening a conversation until you can say it smoothly naturally. Go through the day’s agenda if it’s a workshop or conference. Also, do some research on the companies/ employers that will be in attendance to investigate more about the people you will be interacting with at the event.

Get Settled

Arrive on time for the event so that you familiarize yourself with the venture. You can volunteer to register or welcome attendees if the chance presents itself (don`t forget to register for these roles in advance). That way, you can mingle with people as they come. A different way to dive into networking is to start a conversation with individuals who are by themselves and work your way to groups.

starting-a-conversation

How to Introduce Yourself to Others?

To start conversation, you must first introduce yourself. The manner you talk about yourself is key to making a fantastic first impression. So, smile, make eye contact and offer your hand as you say who you are. Start with something along the lines of:

“Hi, I’m (your official names) and I (say what you do). I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Also, prepare a proper response when another attendee greets you. Make sure you are polite and brief.

How to Shake Hands?

It is important to extend a formal/ business-like handshake when greeting someone at a networking event. Offer your right hand and shake the other person’s hand firmly – but not too tightly – for a few seconds. If you are nervous and sweat a lot, clean and wipe your hands before you greet anyone.

How to Start a Conversation After Introducing Yourself?

Once you’ve made your introduction, you have to figure out some pick-up lines to kick-start the conversation. There are many ways to start a conversation. You could, for example, say something about the venue or organization hosting the event. Alternatively, you could talk about other events, similar to the current one that you have attended in the past. If it’s an industry-specific event, the best way to start a conversation is to highlight new developments and trends in the field.

How to Keep the Conversation Flowing?

To involve another person in the discussion and keep it flowing smoothly, you can ask a few questions. For instance:

  • Are you a regular at these events, or is it your first time?
  • What are some valuable sessions you’ve attended here?
  • What are your thoughts on the program this far?
  • What’s your opinion about the keynote speaker?

How to Exit Conversations Naturally?

Remember that you will have limited time to talk with people and should, therefore, not stay in one conversation for too long. So, just as you’ll need good ways to start a conversation, you have also to prepare some good closing statements. If you talk to someone you deem valuable, exchange contact information (e.g., LinkedIn, email, or Social Media) with them. It’s always good to have some business cards too. If you are at a job fair, carry some professional resume copies to hand out to potential employers.

How to Plan a Follow Up?

To build a strong connection with new networks, you can plan a follow-up meeting. For example, if you are both interested in visiting an upcoming event, you can suggest that you go together. You could reach out to them through the contact information shared with you and suggest a meet-up later on.

Most importantly, remember the more you network, the better you become at it. The first time you introduce yourself may feel uncomfortable, but by the fifth or tenth time, you’ll get much better. So, network with people even when it’s not necessary by attending these gigs as a way to practice.

Random posts
Want to Get Hired? Create the Best Functional Resume!

Every first-time job seeker or career changer knows for sure how to prepare a resume. However, not everyone knows how to do it professionally. In fact, there are three types of resumes: chronological resume, functional or skill-based resume, and combination resume. All these types are used according to candidate’s work experience and employer’s requirements. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

The When and How of Listing References on Resume

Should you include references on resume? How many references should you include? Who is the best reference for you? Find out when you need to write this section, how to format it, acquiring the right references, and what to avoid.

Lifting the Veil on Why It Is Easier to Get a Job When Employed

How often have you looked around for another job while employed? All the time, once or never? Telling the truth, there’s no right answer. Everyone has faced job hunting process at least once and we know there’re no easy way to find a job you like and suite. Not having a job while you're looking for one could be a thorny period and takes time, forces and patience. Already-employed workers got job offers worth 23% more on average than those without jobs. So, it’s time to stop, look, and listen to what you’ve been doing and most likely make some changes. 

Bullet Points vs Paragraphs: Which Better to Use in Your Resume

Creating a well-written and professional-looking resume is a tough task. You have to arrange all your skills and achievements and organize your work history in an easily readable way. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance to determine whether you will use bullet points or paragraphs. 

How to Create a Professional Resume Header

Professionally written and formatted resume increases your chances to get hired. This concerns to every part of the document, especially to the resume header, as it is the first thing the recruiter sees when opening the document. The professional header should be well-thought, contain all the important information, look good and attract attention in a positive way. It is quite easy to create a proper heading. Just consider the following points.

10 Great Websites for Disabled Job Seekers

If you are or know a person with disabilities, then you’re definitely aware of how hard it is to find a job. This article addresses the issues surrounding job hunting for disabled people.

40 Online Work from Home Jobs for 2020

With improved internet connectivity all around the globe, shifts in attitude about where people should work, plus a promise of greater flexibility, remote jobs have grown to be more commonplace than ever. According to research, 70% of professionals globally work remotely one day in a week.

Work from home jobs you can explore are plenty. We’ve compiled a list of forty legit work from home jobs that offer real pay, flexibility, and stability.

How to Get Hired by Socially Responsible Companies

Young people all over the globe constantly concern themselves with social problems. According to multiple surveys, both Millennials and Gen Z are extremely invested in the geopolitical and environmental lives of their respective countries. Poverty, climate change, government accountability, educational institution problems are only a couple of major concerns that trouble the young workforce and compels to actively partake in dealing with these problems by creating protests, meetings, approaching politicians and so on.

 

9 Types of Difficult Coworkers and How to Handle Them

Are you currently dealing with difficult coworkers? Difficult coworkers can rub you the wrong way and force to act irrationally, which is not exactly a healthy situation in which you can succeed. The good news is that, even though you can’t change everyone else’s behavior, you always can change your own. To help you survive in a tough environment we’ll tell you how to handle a difficult coworker and what is most important how to knock someone out without hurting them.

 

Best Ways to Explain Why Did You Leave Your Last Job (with examples)

A job interview is quite a stressful process for many people as they feel pressure being assessed by the way they answer interview questions. Recruiters try to test the candidates and often ask confusing and uncomfortable questions to look how they react. Because of the stress and the pressure, some people feel disoriented and do not know what answer is the best to give, ruining the interview. Don’t want to become one of them? Then let’s look how to answer why did you leave your last job and give a good reason for leaving on job application.