Networking is an important aspect of meeting new people in the hospitality and events space. It can be a source of nerves for some people, particularly the first few times. But it doesn’t need to be and can actually be a lot of fun. Here we show you how.
1. Relax – you will most likely be in the company of like-minded people, many in the same or similar position as you. So you may as well go out and meet them. They are probably as nervous as you (even if they are pretending to be confident). A networking event (if you do it properly) is not so much about trying to get an immediate sale or a job, but rather to share and learn from other people, about what they do, about what you do and get to know each other better.
2. Social media is great for chatting and getting to know other people attending before the event. Let your network know you are attending and talk about the event; your followers may already be attending or may decide to come along and join you as a result. It is always great to meet your online contacts in person and to put a face to the Twitter name! In the past we have been known to use Twitter to encourage face to face interaction e.g. “If you are attending #Panout #event tonight please say “hi! I am the chap with the big funky hair!”
3.People love making small talk and this is actually a great way to break the ice. Talking about the weather or the journey to the venue or that you are enjoying the food is a great way to start a conversation on easy ground and then who knows where that conversation may lead.
4. If ever you are struggling to think of something to say ask a question! The person you are talking to will love the opportunity to tell you a bit more about themselves and are then likely to reciprocate with a question back to you.
5. Don’t forget your business cards. If you don’t have your business card, then ask for theirs and be sure to e-mail them the following day. Ideally at some point you should get your own card so that people remember you. There are good deals on business cards so shop around for one that works for you. There is no excuse for not having a business card. After all it’s an investment in your future.
6. Join in with any interactive elements of the event. This helps to break the ice, start new conversations and encourage face to face networking whether you are attending alone, with a guest or within a group of friends or colleagues.
7. If you are attending solo and would like to buddy up with others doing the same drop an email to the organiser and see if they will put you in touch with other individuals or people so that you can meet up and arrive at the event together. hortly before the awards we will put you in touch with a small group of others so you can meet up and arrive at the event together if you wish. This is a great way to get over your jitters and to meet people straight away too.
There you have it, our seven top tips. Good luck, relax, smile and say hello.
Planet Planit is an active contributor to Pan Out London, an ESF/SFA project connecting hospitality and events leading industry employers’ directly with Wandsworth schools through 18 pilots. Each pilot seeks to inspire and equip young people so that they can understand how they can enter the sector and prosper through a long-term hospitality career.