So you’re going to an event, that’s great! Events are some of the most treasured opportunities to meet like-minded people and expand your current network to unimaginable heights. However, this is not something anyone of us can do confidently, so here are some tips to maximise the events you’re going to participate in.
Show up early
Getting to an event early is the first and foremost thing you should do. You see, being the early bird means that you’ll have the time and luxury to know what the event will do for you, get used to the space, especially if the venue is a large place like those from Wow House. Interact with people that are already present, and more. There’s nothing better than getting prepared for an event than being punctual and proactive, so keep that in mind.
Arrive with a purpose
One of the most important aspects of networking at events is knowing what you want to get out of it. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different opportunities and people, so plan how to approach them. Be prepared to meet new people in massive events, even if it initially feels uncomfortable or intimidating. You never know who could become a valuable connection or friend!
Also, remember that rejection is part of life. If someone doesn’t want to talk with you, don’t take it personally (and don’t keep trying). They probably aren’t interested right now, but there will be other opportunities soon.
Be ready to meet new people
When you’re at an event, being ready to meet new people is important. You never know who you might meet or what opportunities arise from those conversations. You should also be prepared for introductions by having a few talking points ready in your head (in case the other person wants to know more about you). Ask yourself questions like, “What do I like to do in my free time?” or, “What are my interests outside of work?” This way, when meeting someone new, you can talk about something relevant to both of you.
Ask good questions
Asking questions is one of the most powerful ways to connect at events. The key is to ask relevant questions to the event but not so specific that they can be easily answered online and don’t require much personal information. Here’s an example: instead of asking, “How do I get into software development?” try “What do you think makes a good portfolio?” or “What kinds of projects have you worked on recently?”
Be genuine and authentic
Don’t be afraid to say hello to people you don’t know. Don’t be afraid of rejection; don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t want to talk with you or can’t give you the time of day. They may have their reasons for doing so—maybe they’re busy or distracted, maybe they’re just not feeling well that day or week—and those are all valid explanations for why they would turn down your request for an introduction or conversation.
The key to networking at events is being prepared. You should be ready to meet new people and ask good questions, but you must also be genuine and authentic for your connections to last. The best way to do this is by showing up early and having a purpose when entering a room full of strangers.