Work the Networking Events & Tips of the Icebreaker
Get the most out of networking events and understand how to utilize your time to maximize your benefit. Also, some icebreakers to get you going at the networking event.
Tips to remember at your next networking event:
• Get the most out of networking events.
○ Join industry networking functions by checking online with relevant associations.
○ Research who is attending and make a list of the best people for you to meet.
○ Develop and strengthen relationships by following up with your top connections.
○ Arrange your own networking functions!
• Look and act appropriately.
○ Practice and know your elevator speech! Use it as your introduction.
○ Be positive, friendly, and enthusiastic! No one wants to talk to (or hire) a bore!
○ Ask questions and listen.
○ Get to know the person and the company.
• Remember people’s names.
○ Use their name at least 3 times throughout your conversation.
○ Swap cards and write a note or description on the back to remind you who they are.
○ Later you can forward articles or other information about their industry (or hobbies) to them. This keeps you connected with them.
• Getting into a networking group at an event.
○ Stand by and observe their body language until you get an opening.
○ Offer them some refreshments.
• Getting out of a networking group at an event.
○ Always act interested, even if you are not.
○ Say, “Thank you! I enjoyed talking with you. Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
○ Swap business cards and say, “Can I call you so we can discuss this further?”
○ Always close with a handshake and smile.
• Do not forget about unconventional networking places like community events, prayer groups, PTA meetings, charities, political campaigns, local shopping, etc. You never know where your next lead will come from, so keep resumes in your car and business cards in your pocket or purse.
In your first networking conversation with someone new:
• Always begin with, “Hi! I’m ____. How are you?” and shake hands firmly.
• Say your elevator speech.
• Focus on them, not you.
• Compliment them.
• After you have talked business, ask about casual topics like family and spare time.
• Use the lingo and networking tricks you overhear, if they get a positive response!
Try using these statements as icebreakers or to spark further conversation:
• “I’d like to know more about [the company/positions available/something else you have researched].”
• “What an outstanding [booth/event/turnout]!”
• “Isn’t this is a clever [brochure/marketing item]?”
• “Where do you work?”
• “What kind of work do you do?”
• “How did you get into that industry?”
• “What do you enjoy most about that industry?”
• “How did you go about getting your job?”
• “What do you enjoy most about your job?”
• “What keeps you motivated?”
• "How are you going to continue growing your business?"
• “Who is your most challenging competitor and why?”
• “What is your greatest challenge?”
• “Which industry websites or blogs do you follow?”
• “Are you attending other [career fairs, events, etc.] soon? I’m interested in going too.”
• “If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing?”
• “When you are not at work, what do you do for fun?”