This month I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few professional networking events, and, fun fact, this was my first professional networking experience outside of a college career fair. All this time, I believed that etiquette was simply common sense; however, there’s always that person that manages to slip up and talk about something wildly inappropriate for such an event.
Being a former sorority woman, I learned the vast majority of my networking skills from recruitment, and I found it helpful to read a few articles prior to the event. While it isn’t necessary to read articles upon articles about how to act and what to discuss at the event, it doesn’t hurt to prepare beforehand. Much of the advice in the articles is common sense, but there are always those people that need to hear it more than once.
Here are my do’s and don’ts for professional networking events.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare – you’ll need a brief elevator speech to explain yourself and what you do; ex. “Hello my name is ________ , I’m the (state your position) at (place of work). (Briefly explain what your company does)”. You also may want to research on the company hosting the event or the companies attending so that you can carry on conversation.
- Dress for success – try on your outfit the night before just to make sure everything fits properly and looks appropriate.
- Get an ample amount of sleep the night before, especially if it’s a particularly long event, such as sorority recruitment, as you don’t want to be rude by spacing out or nodding off at times.
- Talk about the three b’s – boys, booze, or beliefs – this one is pretty self-explanatory.
- Portray a negative attitude – even if the topic of conversation is something you don’t particularly care for; try to politely steer the conversation in a different direction.
- Name drop – it’s incredibly rude
What rule of thumb do you stick to at professional networking events?