Attending a networking event is one thing, but succeeding at it is another. If you are taking time out of your schedule to attend one, you should make the most of your time there by doing more than simply showing up. While you don’t have to necessarily interact with everyone you look at, it is important to be involved to see how you can help others. And most importantly, you need to be a good listener. You can get a good background of some of the attendees by looking at their LinkedIn profile ahead of time, but even if that’s not an option, consider these tips before your next event.
Focus on Listening
We have all met those people who do nothing but talk about themselves the entire time. You don’t want to be remembered that way. Do your best to refrain from always responding back with a story about yourself and just be intent on listening to what the other person has to say. This is a rare attribute few people have, but it makes the other person feel great about themselves and they will appreciate you much more because of it. Being a good listener isn’t necessarily something you’ll be putting in your executive bio, but your brand will be enhanced because of it.
Follow-Up With Them
While they are talking, take mental notes. Listen for key parts from the speaker that could clue you in on how you might be able to help them out. If they talk about a problem they’re having, think about whether you have a solution. You may not be an expert in their specific line of work, but you may know someone who is and can offer assistance. The networking event itself isn’t always the best time to go into specific details, since interruptions can happen at any given moment. Instead, take good mental notes, get their contact information, or LinkedIn profile link and follow-up with them when you have more time to talk.
Ask Them Leading Questions
You want to keep the conversation going, and keep them talking about themselves. This can boost your credibility significantly if you ask the right leading questions that give the other person a chance to continue talking. Remember the main idea is to let them do most of the talking and be an intent listener. The more you can prompt them to continue talking, the more powerful your personal branding will be in general.
It takes a well-rounded effort to be seen as an expert in your industry and boost your chances of landing the job you desire. Listening is always a great attribute to have, and it’s especially important when you attend networking events. Make sure that those you meet at the event remember you for the right reasons.