Being a good networking professional is what it takes to be successful. Networking can be stressful if you don’t have a plan. Networking is more than just showing up. It’s about sharing your knowledge and making new contacts. Below are some tips to prepare for a networking event.

Set A Goal

Before the event, ask yourself what you would like to gain from going. Then, come up with two outcomes that you hope to get out of the event. Knowing what you want to accomplish before heading to the event will help you stay focused.

Dress Appropriately

Ideally, pick something that will make you look polished and professional. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple dress or something costly; choose something that will make you feel good and have confidence.

Don’t Forget Your Business Cards

This is a basic rule of thumb. It will be hard for people to contact you after the event without business cards. Instead of just one, bring more cards than you think you’ll need. Doing so will ensure they won’t get dirty or crumpled in your bag.

Introduce Yourself Professionally

When meeting someone new, make eye contact and introduce yourself by smiling and giving a brief but firm handshake. Another strategy is to listen for the other person’s name once in a while while you’re talking.

Listen Before Speaking

If you want to impress your counterpart, ask the other person first what they want to say before they speak. This will allow them to focus on what they want to say and not be distracted by what you’re saying.

Be Sincere and Show Interest

Ask a few questions to get the other person’s thoughts on what they’re interested in. Doing so will show them you’re curious about something more than just your job opportunities. Use sentences that are short and sweet. Many people will be interested in what you have to say, so make it memorable and relevant.

Take Notes

You probably won’t remember all of the details of the conversation. Take notes down about essential parts of your discussion. This will make it easier to follow up with them.

Don’t Talk Forever

Get to your point quickly. Don’t overstate anything and get your information out in just a few sentences. When it comes to networking, avoid being too specific or detailed. Avoid using too much industry jargon.

Follow up

Follow-up emails are a great way to keep in contact with people after the event. They can be sent to anyone who you enjoyed meeting and talking to.

One of the most important parts of networking is being prepared. Having a plan in place will help you make the most of it, and it can also help you relax and have some fun.