Whether you work for a large or small business, a NGO or government agency, chances are that you will have to go a networking event. While listening to speakers and eating finger foods are easy, networking is not always so, especially for those just starting their careers or for strong introverts. But with a couple of simple tricks, we’ll show you the best way to make a positive impression with your audience when introducing yourself.
Here are our top three tips to introduce yourself at networking events.
Cover the basics
Sometimes we get lost in the details and get stuck in the curse of knowledge, forgetting to introduce ourselves at the most basic level. Monster Canada suggests going over these basic questions when you first introduce yourself:
- Who you are – your title or professional identifier
- Where you’ve been ‒ a very concise career history
- What you’re best at ‒ key competencies you can demonstrate via accomplishments. If you’re networking to look for a job or change positions, consider these questions: Why you’re currently in the market and what your reason is for leaving/looking
- What you’re looking for and why ‒ your search goals and reasons for that path.
Giving a clear and concise response to each of these questions will make a great first impression with your audience. While they might not remember everything you say, covering all of these questions will help to provide them with an overall context to your career without boring them with the unnecessary details.
Ask questions related to your skills
Occasionally while networking, we have a tendency to just list off our skills without saying how they can add value (e.g. I make beautiful websites from scratch). Other times, we list off our past accomplishments to convey our skills—which is better than just listing off our skills—but still doesn’t show how your skills can add value to others (e.g. I redid my previous employers entire website).In order to show how you can add value to somebody’s business, Business Insider suggests asking a question that the person you’re talking with might have faced but doesn’t necessarily have a good solution to.
Here’s the example they give:
“You know how you go onto some websites and you don’t even know which button to click or where to go?”
“Yes! That is so frustrating.”
“Well, I help companies design websites that are easy to use and navigate with really high conversion rates.”
By asking questions that they can relate to, your audience can better understand how your skills can translate into real value for their company or for somebody they know.
Networking provides a mutual benefit to both parties; in order to accomplish that, holding back and listening are essential after you’ve introduced yourself. Yes, it’s a simple tip but one that’s ultimately looked over. It’s easy to get carried away, either in giving too much detail or in reiterating the same things over and over again.At networking events, it’s important to remember that you are also the audience to your audience. To give a good impression while listening: maintain good eye contact (making you look engaged and professional), try your best to seem interested (even if they’re not very interesting) and do not look at your phone (it’s just rude).
While there is a slew of other things you can do to better network, following these three tips are a good starting point to introduce yourself at networking events. If you have any other tips and tricks that have helped you better network, share them in the comments below.
(Photo from Open Data Institute Knowledge for Everyone | Flickr)