So, who needs 6 event networking hacks? We all do. Even the best networkers occasionally drop the ball at networking events. The most gregarious extroverts may lose sight of the brass ring. Spending all of your time with friends at a networking event isn’t networking. It’s a night out with friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t fool yourself into believing you’re networking. Standing in a corner texting to your BFF isn’t networking, even if you did say hello to three people. To network, first, you have to connect.

6 Event Networking Hacks

Carry SWAG (stuff we all get)

Take more than a business card. I remember an event where the speaker had a square aluminum bottle opener printed as a card. It was a hit. I’ve received flash drives, post-it notes, and wristbands, all more memorable than one more card to stuff in a drawer. FAQ: What can I use Instead of a Business Card? 

Take Notes

If you’ve ever been to an event that my friend Robby Slaughter attended, you’ve seen him with a small notebook and pen in hand. He listens with full attention, takes notes, and follows up on them. But the notes aren’t only for him. People appreciate and remember someone who takes the time to make notes.

Offer Help

If you want to make an impact at a networking event, come with the attitude of help first. Ask people how you can help them. Do We Really Need One More “How to Write an Elevator Pitch?” Article

Form a Team

You don’t have to do it alone. Forming a networking event team is an excellent way to use the strengths and skills of friends and co-workers as well as meet new people. You Don’t Have to Network Alone

Remember Names

People enjoy hearing their names and appreciate folks who remember and use them. I suck at remembering names and using the excuse that I suck only makes it worse. I want you to test me. If you meet me, introduce yourself, wait five minutes, and then ask if I remember your name. Here’s my plan.

  • Carry a notepad and write names
  • Repeat new acquaintance’s names three times in our first conversation
  • Note something interesting or memorable such as Rocky wears bright socks or Robby carries a notepad

Connect the Dots

One of the best networking strategies is to connect people. I introduced myself to a new bank manager at an event. I asked who she was looking to meet, and she said, local small business owners. Later I met a couple who had founded a small business networking group. No brainer—I introduced them to each other.

Make Your Next Event Count

Don’t get me wrong, there are times at networking events I’d much rather hang with friends, and sometimes I do, but I understand that’s not networking. If I have a mission, a business I want to meet, a vendor who could help, or a speaker whose brain I want to pick, I know I need to put on my networking hat and connect. What are your best networking strategies?

Are You a Good Networker?

I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.