You are here, which means you have probably chosen an event you’d like to attend. If you’re still looking, and maybe you’re not sure which one is the best fit for you, have a look at our guide on how to find the right opportunities.

According to CNBC, ‘70% of all jobs are not published publicly on jobs sites and as much as 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections’.

This means networking events are the best way to look for new perspectives, partners, and job offers. At times, a company might not even have an active opening, but once they meet you they might realize that you will be a great addition to their team and even create a new role for you.

Once you’ve chosen a networking event you’d like to attend, learn about it as much as possible. There is a reason why it has picked your attention, so make sure to gather the following information ahead of time to make the best out of it.

In this post you will learn:


Benefits from any networking event

Conversational tips

Important reminders to show up


Let’s get started, shall we?

The ultimate guide to benefit from any networking event

Review event details in advance to make sure you have a productive conference experience and that you are informed on important details of the event. Here is a list of what best to do before you appear at the conference:

1. Look up the venues and what’s around them 

Not only the main venue, but also where the specific talks, mingles, and displays take place.

Look up nearby restaurants, bars, and cafés to know what to suggest in case you and your colleague want to continue a conversation or where other conferencegoers might gather after the event.

AlphaGamma The ultimate guide to benefit from any networking event entrepreneurship opportunity finance

2. Familiarize yourself with conference schedules

Have a look at the conference agenda, and choose the topics that interest you the most. You want to make sure you take the most of the time spent at the conference.

Are there any particular sessions you would like to attend? 

Knowing which panels, presentations, and events you want to attend can help you determine your timing and movement throughout the conference.

3. Download relevant materials before the event

This can help you better navigate during the event once you’re ‘on the ground’. For example, having a map of the venue layout will help you get to every destination with ease.

Additionally, it can be a great conversation starter if someone is looking to find their way and you are here to lend a hand.

Some events include a downloadable app, it is generally a good idea to download ahead of the event, to help you easily navigate it during the sometimes chaotic event atmosphere. Through such apps, you can also connect with fellow participants in advance.

4. Learn about the host

It could be helpful to learn a little about the company organizing the networking event. What it is doing, what its motto is, and any other interesting facts that may come in handy. After all, they might be a good conversation starter, or a fluid change of subject when you stump on something you wish you could drop during your talk with someone.

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5. Look up the speakers

Usually during networking events a guest speaker addresses topics important to the participants.

Try researching who the speaker is, with the same idea in mind of having a good conversation starter (e.g. ‘I’ve seen he/she did this and that, did you know?’)

6. Know the dress code

This one is self-explanatory: don’t be the only person in a suit, and don’t be the only person not in a suit. It is important to fit in, but also make a good impression, so make sure to choose the attire that highlights you, and makes you feel comfortable and confident.

People judge us by our appearance faster than we could have imagined. A study published in Nature Human Behaviour by Princeton University concluded that people perceive others’ competence ‘based on subtle economic cues emanating from the person’s clothing’.

AlphaGamma The ultimate guide to benefit from any networking event entrepreneurship opportunity finance

7. Make sure you know what your goals are

You must know what you’d like to achieve, as it will give you a confidence-boosting sense of purpose. Try being as specific as possible, what are you looking to learn, what would you like to achieve? Some of the examples include:

  • Recruiting
  • New Client Acquisition
  • Blog & Social Media Content
  • Job Opportunities
  • Acquiring business partners

8. Check out the attendee list ahead of time

If there’s anyone in particular you’d like to meet, figure out how to best approach them. Know what is that you need from them and what they can gain from their partnership with you, or your company.

When looking for potential connections consider whether you’re looking for:

  • a specific individual,
  • a person in a certain role, or within a certain organization
  • someone you could connect with on a certain topic

If the information is publicly available, you could reach out to specific individuals ahead of the event. You can introduce yourself and let them know that you’re attending the same event and are interested in meeting them.

AlphaGamma The ultimate guide to benefit from any networking event entrepreneurship opportunity finance

9. Prepare business cards and boost your LinkedIn profile

If you already have business cards, make sure to bring them with you to the networking event. If not, then create some.

If you are unemployed or have a job you wouldn’t like to mention on your card, create a calling card or a QR code. Once scanned, your new connection will see your contact info, including email, phone number, and links to social media profiles like LinkedIn.

Social media gives you the option of using a QR code to connect with others quickly, so try including that on your card if possible.

Remember: a card is always a part of the impression, so use good-quality paper, and create a unique layout, to better stand out from the crowd.

With that in mind, it is a good idea to refresh your LinkedIn profile ahead of time. We are currently working on a few tips on how to improve it, so keep a lookout for it.

The ultimate guide to benefit from any networking event – conversational tips

Now that you’re fully prepared for the conference, here are a few tips on how to navigate conversations, how to start them, and how to make a strong first impression. 😉

1. How to open up a conversation

Approaching a group of already engaged in a conversation people can be tough, however, it may turn out to be a good approach to join in the conversation, when you hear a topic you are familiar with.

In any case, when trying to engage someone in a conversation, you can always start simple, whether by a buffet, starting with the food, or about the speaker that appeared.

Here are a few simple conversation starters you can always resort to:

  • Do you recognize any of the speakers?
  • What are your thoughts so far?
  • How did you learn about the event?
  • I enjoyed this and that so far, how about you?

You’ve used one of them, now what?

2. Keep the conversation going

This is the time when you need to focus and give your full attention to the person in front of you. Make sure to maintain eye contact, as it makes you appear confident and authentic. It is a valuable skill with everyone focused on their screens these days. However, don’t make it weird and stare at the person with a scary impression on your face. If you think that might be the case, try practicing relaxed eye contact with people surrounding you ahead of the networking event.

Be engaged in a conversation, and follow up with questions. This gives the speaker the impression you are interested in what they are saying. Stay positive and impartial, and try to be as open-minded as possible. It will give off the impression of being likable and spread positive energy around you.

Know your business, what is exceptional about it, and what are its best qualities. If you’re looking to partner up, where does it need improvement and how would that person fit in, and fill the void while also benefiting from your business?

However, try not to oversell, be casual about it as much as possible so you won’t sound desperate or too full of yourself.

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3. How to conclude a conversation

Keep your chats brief, after all, you have plenty of people to engage with. With this in mind, always end your conversations politely. For example:

  • It’s been a pleasure meeting you, but I want to ask the speaker/colleague some questions before he/she leaves.
  • Well, I want to make sure to say hello to a few more people tonight!
  • Anyway, I don’t want to take up all of your time.
  • Thanks for the conversation, I’ll let you mingle with others

Important reminders to show up

Remember you are at a professional event. There is sometimes alcohol available during networking events. Nothing wrong with having a good time, however, remember you are representing yourself and your company. Know your limits!

If there’s an opportunity to speak up, take it! Whether it’s during Q&A or helping out the speaker, it is a great opportunity to stay in memory of all the attendees.

Hold your items with your left hand, so you can easily greet people. Also, keep your business cards easily accessible.

Make sure to attend events regularly to make yourself known within the community and constantly expand your network. This could for example lead to you giving someone your colleague’s details and in turn, the same thing might happen right back.

Follow up with your contacts once you’re back home. Once you’ve made all those connections, don’t let them go to waste. Connect with your newly met network members on appropriate social media, and write an email. Simply try to stay connected, or suggest a meeting if you would like to expand your connection.

Last but not least, after each event try to sit down and reflect on how it all went. Look at your successes, and where you still need improvement, and please remember, nobody was born perfect. This sometimes is a bumpy road, but being patient and consistent always yields dividends in the end.

Which of those tips was your favourite? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below, or fill in the contact form to suggest any tips that we should list here.

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