No matter the industry, networking is a major component of success and career advancement. Your ability to connect with people, both in-person and digitally can greatly influence the trajectory of your career. For those of you who aren't at ease with the face-to-face aspect of networking, it is critical to break out of your bubble and improve your interpersonal skills. If you can master these tools, it is one of the best ways to increase your network at digital marketing events. Let's take a closer look at the seven best practices to make a good connection at a networking event that the team at 24 Seven Talent think will take you to the next level.
Dress for Success
You should dress for the position you want and always present yourself as someone who believes in personal well-being. We understand that different segments of the digital marketing field have unique dress code standards, but your first impression may be your last, so make it count. Find a balance and avoid the extremes. While we’re not suggesting squelching your personal style, but perhaps avoid wearing something like a tuxedo with flip-flops
Make Nice with the Organizer
While you’ll want to meet many different people at a given event, it helps a great deal to get in good with the organizer(s). Consider reaching out ahead of time or make a point to introduce yourself at the venue. Your proactive approach might lead to them giving you access to people that are critical to your needs and skills. It is also fantastic to add industry leaders to your network.
Make a Reasonable Plan of Attack
Don’t go to a networking event without a purpose. You certainly don’t need have everything timed down to the second, but also don't overextend yourself. There will be more events in the future, so don't feel the need to meet everyone at once. Rather, prioritize who you might want to connect with and have a strategy or two that increases the possibility of paths crossing.
Listen and Ask
Undoubtedly you are at an event to expand your network and sell yourself. But this does not mean you should bounce around giving everyone your elevator pitch and throwing around business cards. Instead, listen to what people say, interject, and then, if it is suitable, you can steer the conversation in whatever direction you wish with a solid question or statement. You want to be able to add people to your orbit, and nothing scares away most people like someone who only pushes their personal agenda and never listens.
Think on Your Feet
Life is a series of pivots. If you're not ready for them, you can easily be left behind. Learning how to think on your feet is an acquired skill and takes time to nurture. We suggest taking an improv class offered at a local comedy club. It will teach you some unique skills that will come in handy at networking events. On top of that, it's also a ton of fun!
Do your homework. Any good performer will tell you that practice makes perfect, and that also goes for digital marketing events. Read up on the latest trends and prep some networking discussion topics so you'll be ready if the spotlight turns toward you.
It's simple: go slow on the adult beverages. The bar is a perfect place to meet people and talk shop, just don't make it the focus of your evening. We're not trying to nag, but it only takes one embarrassing performance at an event to label you as "trouble" throughout the digital marketing world. So, take it easy. To learn more about how to increase your network at digital marketing events, and a host of other trends and tips, make sure to check out the 24 Seven Talent blog.