Talent Acquisition

The 11 Stages of Networking Events

Networking events can be extremely daunting – especially if you get awkward in large groups of people. On the flip side, you can optimise your time and meet a whole new range of people who will help you (or you can help them), at some point in the future.

However, with every event, there’s 11 stages you go through – and here they are:

1) Looking up attendees:

Before an event, always take a look at the Facebook RSVPs (if there is an official event) and decide who you want to meet. Although, don’t always choose the people who you think you’ll talk to anyway – challenge yourself to talk to someone new, or more senior than yourself.

If you want to prepare fully, look up where they work on LinkedIn (for a point of conversation), and then what they really think on Twitter. Social media is there to be used and can really give you some small talk ammunition.

2) Dressing for success:

Before you leave the house, it’s time to get your outfit on. You put your sharpest suit (or dress) on, do your hair and freshen up – the better you look, the more confident you’ll feel.

However, don’t be afraid to dress for the event – if it’s smart casual, dress smart casual.

3) Rocking up to the venue:

You want to look cool, but not too cool, because that comes across as obnoxious. You turn your swagger up, and try to look as confident as you feel.

It’s time to get things rolling, and for you to network to the max.

4) The door opens:

No matter how many times you stand waiting for a door to open, you can never perfect the face you’re pulling when the person on the other side first sees you (or how many people are inside the room).

5) Plastering on a big smile:

You see new faces and they awkwardly smile at you, so you awkwardly smile back.

6) Spotting a friend (possibly):

You do your special handshake.

7) Spotting someone you didn’t want to see:

OH NO! You’ve found that person who always comes down to ask awful questions, followed by a half hour chat. AVOID. AT. ALL. COSTS.

RELATED: How to Politely End a Conversation at a Networking Event

8) Awkward conversation:

You want to tell people about yourself, but remember that you also need to listen to others. Learn what they do, and see how you can help them.

9) Telling a joke and no-one laughs:

People like laughing, and jokes cause laughing – sometimes. You tell what you think is your greatest comedic achievement and people don’t get it.

10) Raiding the free food and drink:

You haven’t eaten dinner because you didn’t want to look bloated, so it’s time for the best bit of a networking event – the free food and drink!

A little liquid confidence never hurt anyone, but don’t drink too much and make a fool of yourself. These are potential clients/employers/partners, so take it easy and enjoy yourself.

11) Leaving with business cards in hand:

It’s always important to know when it’s time to grab your coat, say goodbye and leave. Don’t overstay your welcome.

By Laurence Hebberd