Networking is challenging for professionals of all ages and in all industries, but yet we all know it’s important to do! The only way you can really get good at it is through practice. To help you nail your next mingle, we’ve compiled some tips and insights from the AMA Boston Board Members collective experiences to help you get the most out of your next networking event.

Tips and Tricks

Take that leap of faith. Attending a networking event where you don’t know anyone can feel like jumping off a high wire without a safety net below. It’s easy to be intimidated. It’s understandable if you are hesitant. But it’s of the utmost importance to take that leap of faith and network with others in your industry as often as possible. This is how you’re going to meet people who can help you on the job and in your career. This is where you’re going to form long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships with like-minded professionals that will lead to exciting, new opportunities and greater success.

– Bob Cargill, President AMA Boston

Stick to your promises. Certainly, exchange business cards and mention to your new contact that you’d like to follow up. And then do.If you’re able to establish trust and credibility after a number of interactions, your contacts may be generous: offering advice, mentorship, and/or introducing you to their connections. If there’s no occasion to return the favor directly, look for opportunities to pay that kindness forward to other connections. That should be part of the exchange too.

– Marina Erulkar, VP Sponsorship

It’s about genuine connection. Many find networking intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Think about it as going to a family reunion where you’ll meet members of your extended family – people you haven’t met before. Find out about their passion, plans for the summer, what they do for work and ask how you can help.At the end of the day, networking is about people connecting with people, it’s about emotion and comradery. And don’t ‘sell’ yourself or your product when you are talking to a person for the first time.

– Parna Sarkar-Basu, CEO, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC

AMA Boston professional image

Dress for success. It might sound cliché, but it’s still always wise to dress in business attire or at least business casual, even it’s for a casual networking event. People do judge a book by its cover and first impressions last. You never know what prospective business contacts you might meet!

– Maura Hickey, VP of Social Media

Focus on being helpful first and foremost. A lot of people enter networking situations thinking about what it’s going to do for them. I take the opposite approach and ask questions that will prompt my thinking about how I can be helpful to the person that I’m talking to. I always follow-up on LinkedIn the next day and include a note that either includes what we talked about, offers a follow-up conversation, or pays them a compliment.

– Meghan McGrath, VP of Content Marketing 

 

Everyone is in the same boat. For me, the hardest part of networking is making that initial contact or jumping into an already existing conversation. It feels a little awkward or unnatural to simply insert yourself, so I try to remember that everyone is in the same boat and is at networking event for the same reason. Something as simple as, “It’s nice to meet you… can I join this conversation?” or “What brings you here?” will usually do the trick. I find that from there a natural conversation begins since everyone has similar goals in mind.

– Dina Dvinov, VP of Event Logistics

Try to tailor the conversation to your listener… personalize it, bring out your inner charm and properly engage in the conversation.  Above all, remain at ease, laid-back, try to remain genuinely interested, make eye contact and take your turn.  If you have prior event notice, then STOP for a few minutes to think of the plausible audience whom you are going to converse with and prepare yourself by pre-thinking some topics and areas of interest … brainstorm with yourself, be prepared, and personally engage!!!

– Zuby Singh, VP Strategy and Analytics

 

Don’t make assumptions. As marketers we are trained to label people and group them into personas and target markets but at a networking event resist this instinct!  Use the same principle… don’t tell yourself you are terrible at networking, don’t avoid people who look the part or don’t look the part, don’t go into an event just trying to find clients or a gig – go in with a blank slate willing to learn something and a commitment to help someone if you can.  You’ll have a lot more fun and the clients/gig will come to you.

– Joshua Iverson, VP Sponsorship

Want to put these tips into practice? Join us for our next Marketing Mingle on August 9 from 6-8 pm. Register here.