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How to get the most out of networking events

Networking is not something that comes automatically to most people - it's a skill that you need to learn. Networking is happening all the time and it's getting more and more important. Connections are everything - and as part of IMA you have many connections, you just need to start using them. 

Essentially, most people love to help others - and networking is all about helping each other. I can do something for you - and you can probably at some time do something for me - or you connect me to someone I need to talk to. It's about creating win-win situations both professionally and personally. 

So when you attend your next networking event - be it an IMA meeting or something else - try this:

  • Define what you want to get from this event

    Are you looking for connections? a new job? a speaker for an event you are setting up? exercising your networking skills?

     

  • Look through the participant list

    is there someone on the list you want to talk to? or someone who works somewhere that is interesting to you? 

    Make a note of them and perhaps even contact them in advance to schedule a meeting while you are at the same event

  • Follow up

    Make sure to follow up with yourself - did you manage to  reach your goals?

    Follow up with people you connected to during the event - connect on LinkedIn if that is the most obvious thing to do, or even drop them a note to say that you enjoyed connecting with them. 

  • Reach out to your network

    Use your network actively - and welcome that others contact you. All members have knowledge about their own area - both geographically and business wise - or have some experience you might lack. Being part of the network is also about sharing and building each other up. 

Networking people

Same same - but different

Basically, we all fall into one of two categories - introverts or extroverts. Perhaps you already know which category you belong to - perhaps you've never really paid attention to this, but you should, because you might be missing out on valuable connections otherwise.

Sounds strange? let me explain. 

If you are an extrovert person you most likely excel at meeting new people - you love going into a room full of people you've never met before - it energizes you. All this potential - it's great! You get noticed when you enter the room and you engage in discussions immediately. 

For introverts, the experience of a networking meeting can be somewhat different. They often hang back a bit and observe the situation before they decide to connect with someone. They can enter a room without you noticing them. And at some point during the event, the introvert person has had enough and needs to recharge - away from the crowd - and digest the impressions. 

There is however no difference in what you can get out of speaking to either of these persons - both will have important input and insight from which you could greatly benefit. But it means giving the introverted person a little room to breathe and speak - as the extroverted person will have a tendency to just speak more when there is no immediate feedback from the introverted person. 

So - remember to see everyone at the event as a potential new contact with different qualities that can only enrich your life - give it a try!