Networking is More than Showing Up

Woody Allen said 80% of success is showing up.  For anyone attending a networking event this unfortunately isn’t true.  Showing up and talking with no one or just one person all night won’t get you very far.  First off it’s selecting the right event to show up at, are there people there you want to meet?  Does it involve people from the industry you want contacts in?  For example, if you’re interested in medical devices you don’t want to show up at a meeting of civil engineers.  Second, is it a meeting that has networking built into it’s schedule, i.e. social time, or is is a lecture format in an auditorium that isn’t conducive to networking?  If the latter you may want to focus on the learning opportunity as opposed to networking.  All events offer the chance to network, some just better than others.  Make sure you pick your event.

One of the best ways to network is to volunteer. Consider helping with registration at a meeting, refreshments, meeting arrangements.  Just think if you’re the registration chair for a meeting, this will give you the chance to meet all of the attendees, and you won’t need any awkward openings, just start with name and employer.  Or arrange a meeting, great chance to call someone up invite them to speak and learn more about their business. 

 These are just some ideas of ways to think about networking and through volunteering expand your networking opportunities.

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