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Networking at events – skills refresher

The idea of throwing yourself into a room of people you don’t know is a daunting prospect for most people. However, networking is one of the best things that you can do to learn about what’s happening in the industry and develop your career.

It’s easier to do business with people you know or by recommendation and industry events, forums, educationals and exhibitions are a good way to make connections. But it’s not just about face-to-face meetings, there are networking opportunities online and social media sites give everyone access to a global community.


It can be hard to start a conversation with a stranger, so start in the office, at the gym or when you’re out and about by talking to people you don’t know. Just begin with small talk and see where the conversation goes.


Spend a little time thinking about what you want to achieve from the networking event and have a few questions ready to ask new people. Also think about what you want to tell them about yourself, as it’s a two-way process. What news can you give them or place business or share contacts that will help.


Try not to worry about what to say next or what the other person is thinking. Focus on the person you’re talking to. Smile and look as open and approachable as you can, if you look friendly then someone will come and have a conversation with you.


Give the person you are talking to your complete attention. It’s off-putting if you’re looking for someone new to talk to. Build a rapport by asking questions and listening carefully. When the conversation has finished then move around the room.

Pick your events

There are so many opportunities but going to everything is time-consuming and exhausting. It’s better to be strategic and plan which events are most likely to be worthwhile.

Find a friend

If you’re going to an event alone, try and make at least one connection as this will make everything much easier. A lot of people in the room will be feeling the same way as you and don’t know anyone else either, so look for other people on their own and see how you can make them feel more comfortable.

Or, if you can, take a colleague this will make you comfortable until you gain confidence and find some new contacts of your own.

Keep in touch

Maintaining a relationship with a new contact is crucial to networking. Follow up with an email, connect on LinkedIn or another social media platform. Share ongoing news from time to time and find out what other events they are going to attend and catch up with them again there

We’ve all walked in to a room where everyone seems to know each other and are in groups, but remember that those confident people were in your shoes once. Even the ones who have been attending networking events for years still may not really enjoy it, but can hide it through years of practice and experience.

Networking at events – skills refresher

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