We're regularly asked how to prepare for networking mixers. While the questions usually revolved around what to wear, we have other advice, as well.
When getting ready for that upcoming networking event, here are a few of our recommendations:
- Understand the premise of the networking mixer - who's hosting the reception, what's the overall objective of the event, what's the environment.
- Research the attendees - if you're lucky enough to see a list of attendees, conduct research on each one...especially those you wish to meet. It might benefit you to create a list of "must meets" before the mixer.
- Dress to impress - we recommend knowing the setting, so you can dress appropriately. If you're attending to get connected to potential employers, wear what you would in a job interview. While you may feel over-dressed for the occasion, you'll make a strong first impression.
- Bring information - we recommend that you bring business cards, featuring your contact information. If the purpose is career-based, feel free to bring a folder containing copies of your resume.
- Carry a pen and paper - you'll impress even yourself by taking notes on each person you meet. Some will enter the information in their smart phones, but it may give the impression that you're more interested in your phone than connecting with the next person. Take a small sheet of paper or small pad and quickly write a summary of each discussion. The information will be invaluable for your next contact with that person.
- Smile - sure, it may sound strange, but wearing a smile will undoubtedly set the tone for each conversation. A happy and interested demeanor is an incredible first impression.
Have fun making lifelong and career-sparking connections!