There’s no doubt that networking can be nerve-wracking no matter how many times you’ve done it. We often host speed networking events for our members so we have put together our top tips so that you can get the most out of your experience and network like a pro!
1) Dress to impress
While every networking event will be a little different, AMA SF events tend to be more “business casual” than “business formal” in nature. First impressions are important, and what you wear will impact how you feel as you start to meet new people.
If you’re not sure what to wear, here are a few suggestions of what we typically see at our events:
|· Business dress
· Slacks with blouse or sweater
· Nice jeans with blouse and blazer
· Shoes – closed-toe flats, heels, or boots
|· Khakis and a polo shirt
· Slacks with button down shirt
· Jeans with polo and blazer
· Shoes – loafers, Oxfords
Be confident and professional: smile, shake hands, and make eye contact. Also, make sure to speak up and enunciate your name. Don’t be afraid to show your fun and social personality! Since you’ll be meeting people who are probably also a bit nervous, it’s important to have an open mind and give people a chance to warm up. If you focus on putting others at ease, you will likely relax yourself, too!
3) Break the ice
Starting a conversation can be tough, especially when you are new to an event. You might find yourself asking “What should I talk about?” Introduce yourself. Ask open-ended questions. Use humor to take the edge off. It shows that you genuinely want to get to know this person and that you are making an effort.
- Hi, I’m Jessica. Or use your own name if humor isn’t your thing.
- How did you hear about this event? / What brought you to the event?
- What is the best, or worst, career advice you’ve received?
- How long have you been a member of the AMA SF?
- What do you like the most about your current role? Line of work? Career thus far?
- Is this your first AMA SF event?
Think of it like this: you meet new people all of the time – that’s networking! If crowds overwhelm you, try looking for people on the edges of the crowd. They’re apt to be as nervous as you are and hoping someone will start a conversation with them. They just might become your next co-worker, boss, project collaborator, or client.
4) Exchange contact information
Don’t forget your business cards! After getting to know someone at an event, offer to stay in touch by exchanging your business card and/or LinkedIn profile to connect. If he or she offers to act as a mentor or provides you with career advice, be courteous and follow up with this person to thank them. It’s not only just the right thing to do, but it’s also one of the best ways to grow professional relationships. You never know when someone you meet might lend a helping hand in your next job search.
5) Have fun!
This one is probably the most important – you are taking time out of your evening to network with like-minded professionals in hopes of meeting a future mentor, boss, colleague, or friend so you may as well have some fun along the way, too!
Now that you’re armed with our top networking tips, you can register for our AMA SF Speed Networking Event!
Author: Omar Gutierrez