How to Network At a Social Event

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You’ve been invited to a launch event for an upcoming magazine and you want to get your name out there. You’re nervous because you have no idea what to expect or who will be there but you want to make an impression. It can make you feel dirty because you are checking people out but the end goal is to benefit both sides of the social interaction. Here are some quick but effective tips to keep in mind when entering the lion’s den that are media events.

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There will be an array of people in all sorts of positions, founders to interns to stylists, and though it might make you uncomfortable, I’m telling you to fake a confident demeanour. Media events are filled with people who make themselves larger than life. You may feel like little fish talking to bigger corporations if you come from a small company, but you were given an invitation so you have every reason to be there. Don’t be pretentious, posh or annoying, only your confident self. These people smell fear and won’t give you a second glance if you shy away. If you feel like you don’t have a right to talk to them, why should they give you the time of day?

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If you don’t know how to start a conversation with someone, begin with a compliment. “Oh, that dress is amazing, where did you get it?” or “Wow, your earrings are stunning!”. There’s nothing more ego boosting than a little appreciation for the hard work it took to look fabulous. An innocent compliment will cause them to drop their guard and open up a little more to conversing with you. In the words of Mark Twain, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.

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You’re excited for the fancy hors d’oeuvres and glasses of bubbly but remember you’re there for networking purposes! Keep business cards on hand in your clutch and be prepared to hand them out when the time calls. If you would like to collaborate or keep in touch with someone you admire, or are sincerely interested in professionally, be sure to leave them with your contact information and grab theirs as well. Keep your cards organized so you don’t lose them!
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People at these events love to talk about their life stories and that’s truly awesome. Be genuinely interested in hearing about their experiences because you can learn a ton from them. Don’t daze off in the middle and show your attention and eagerness by nodding along and smiling. A smile can take you a long way so let those teeth sparkle.
Networking, network
There will be tons of people there with zero spare time and there will be people there glued to the bar all night long. Know when to make a connection and move on to the next so you don’t miss anyone important. It can be very easy for you to get comfortable with someone and not want to risk. Make an excuse such as “oh, I think I see someone I recognize, excuse me”. Always be polite when you network.
Networking, network
This is pretty obvious but an open bar at these events can be very tempting especially when you’re on edge. Grab a drink so you keep a little busy when chit chatting or moving through the crowd but do not consume to the point of intoxication. You’ll make a fool of yourself and that’s just bad publicity.

Don’t forget to follow up with the connections you made. Wait until the next day to shoot an email off or ring up a call if you have a partnership or idea to discuss with them. Keep in touch every two months or so to see how they’re doing time to time to keep the relationship alive. Practice makes perfect so attend as many of these events as you can, happy networking!


What strategies do you use for effective networking?

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