It’s no secret that networking can lead to connections, interviews, and opportunities that are often not readily available elsewhere. To make the most of networking opportunities, be sure you arrive prepared with these tips.
“While the idea of a traditional elevator pitch is a bit outdated, the underlying strategy is still a good one: Come up with a few sentences you can use to accurately describe yourself or your business,” says Luba Sydor, CEO of Person2 Person, a White Plains-based recruitment consultancy. Smile liberally, she adds, to make yourself as approachable as possible. And, notes etiquette expert Melissa Leonard of Establish Yourself NY, “You’ll want to keep your dominant hand free and hold your drink or any food — nothing messy or greasy, please — in your other hand. That way you’re always ready to shake
“When approaching someone you don’t know, smile warmly, shake hands, and make eye contact. And, if they are wearing a name badge, address them by their first name,” suggests Leonard. “Introduce yourself quickly and ask them questions about themselves or their line of work.” If you don’t know what to say, engage in pleasantries about the venue, why you are attending, or the sponsoring industry, she advises. “If you find someone is not helpful or is monopolizing your time, find a good moment to interject, reach out for a handshake, thank them for their time and tell them it has been a pleasure meeting them.”
“Immediately following an event — but not during — jot down any helpful information you gleaned, before important details fade,” recommends Sydor. And, she adds, be sure to reach out as soon as possible to those you meet and ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn. “Although they may not be in a hiring capacity or have an immediate opening, they could be a great contact as your search continues,” adds recruiter Fran Miller, a senior managing director at Randstad Professionals in White Plains.