Networking: Whether Your First or Fortieth Event, Practice These Strategies for Success

March 2015

by Erica Gray

You’ve got your elevator pitch prepared, nametag on, and a drink in hand—now it’s time to get out there and start talking to people. Are you ready to tackle the event with confidence?

Whether a veteran networker or someone just breaking on to the scene, following these tips will surely help make your next experience a successful one!

Lower and hold your drink at the waist or to your side.

Do not hold your drink in front of your chest as this can make you appear closed off and be a distraction. Keeping your drink low will allow the person you are communicating with to focus strictly on what you’re saying.

Maintain casual eye contact.

It is important to keep eye contact, but avoid intense eye contact. No one wants to feel like they are involved in a stare down.

Nod when you are talking.

The person you are speaking with wants to know that you are listening. Try using non-verbal cues like nods to communicate the fact that you’re paying attention.

Speak with control and be direct, not too fast.

Having a lot to say is great—but make sure that you are communicating clearly and effectively. It’s okay to be enthusiastic, but make sure that you don’t speak too quickly as it can cause you to appear nervous.

Mirror the body language of the person you are talking to.

Mimicking the mannerisms of whoever you are in conversation with is an easy way to eliminate barriers and put them at ease.

Networking is  one of the best ways to learn about an industry, make valuable connections, and self-promote. It can be difficult to resist the temptation of distractions and avoid nervous body language, but being able to remain calm and present in the moment will allow you to make the most of the event.

Erica Gray is an Executive Search Branch Manager in Addison Group’s Oklahoma City office.