How to Network Like a Pro
With our fall fundraising conference coming up, it is time to make sure your networking skills are up to date! Conferences can be a great place to meet like-minded individuals and build relationships that can help you throughout your career. But don’t forget, everyone else is there with the same objective as you: to learn and to network. So make sure you are open to being a connection for someone as well!
Use these 10 tips to prepare for your next networking engagement, whether it be a large conference or a simple happy hour.
1. Bring business cards. At a minimum, make sure the cards have your name, email address, phone number, and the name of your company and position.
2. Start with the basics. Introduce yourself with your name, who you work for, and what you do.
3. Practice active listening when others are introducing themselves to you. Accept as many business cards as you give out.
4. Connect with people on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other acceptable social media outlets to stay in touch. Maybe shoot them an email within a few days of meeting - it will show you valued your conversation and will keep building on the foundation you’ve set with them.
5. Take notes. When you receive a business card, note on the back of the card when and where you met the person and anything other important information.
6. Arrive early to the event. If you’re anxious, this will help you feel more comfortable with your surroundings before the crowd builds.
7. Be approachable. At a conference, don’t spend all of the break times on your phone or laptop. By circulating and being present in the moment, you are more likely to be approached by someone.
8. Research attendees you want to meet ahead of time. Find out their interests and start an engaging conversation with them.
9. Never dismiss anyone as unimportant. Make it your mission to discover the value in each person you speak with.
10. Connect others. As you talk to more and more people, you may realize that one person in the room may be able to help another. Make a point to connect people you think have potential to provide genuine value to one another.
Now that you’re prepared, come practice your networking skills at the ABN Fundraising Conference on October 25th! Learn more and register HERE.
Grace Malone is a junior at the University of Tennessee, where she is a Global Leadership Scholar working towards a degree in Public Administration with a collateral in International Business, along with a double minor in Hispanic Studies/Spanish and Public Health. She has a passion for leadership, community service, and human rights on a global scale and is currently pursuing an internship with ABN to explore these interests further while giving back to the community.