The Beginner’s Guide to Networking at Events


I don’t know about you, but, for me, the best part of attending events is having the chance to meet the kind of people that share my interests. If you’re going to an event, it stands to reason that you’re interested in the topic being discussed.

So is everyone else in that room!

This is the perfect chance for you to network. Whether it is to grow your social circle, find potential partners for your tech startup, or find a new job in finance, the people at this event could change your life. 

However, events can be daunting, and sitting in the corner while you get a new high score on Flappy Bird isn’t going to bulk out your contact list! Below is a plan of action, to help you get the most out of your next event. 

Before the Event

If you’re low on confidence, there are small adjustments you can make in the days before your event. Amy Cuddy’s TEDx video is a great resource, as it gives you tips to make you feel more powerful through body language.

Going into the event with a positive attitude will also help you make a positive impression. Remember – pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Plan how you want to introduce yourself; Succeed Socially wrote a great article on this here. The main tip? Lead with your name!

Networking for business? make sure you have your ‘Elevator Pitch’ perfected. 3 words to describe the perfect elevator pitch? Short, specific, and memorable.

At the Event

Networking starts the second you walk through the door.

If the event has a speaker, make small talk before the speech begins. Introduce yourself to the person next to you. Don’t bother with awkward silences, dive straight in before things have the chance to fester.

Place an emphasis on making high quality connections, as opposed to a high quantity of connections. Speaking to 100 people at an hour-long event will not help you. Get to know people, and ensure you make an impression.

The event organiser and the speaker will be two people who are very influential, so go over there and introduce yourself! They are likely to be very busy, so make sure you are polite and say what you want them to hear immediately.

Networking for business? Tell any potential clients, investors or partners your ‘Elevator Pitch’, and listen attentively to theirs; see if you can help one another. If you exchange business cards, take a few notes on the back – this will come in handy later! Scribble out why the person is interesting to you. Be specific.

After the Event

The most important part of event networking is what happens after the event is over. Don’t faff about! Contact the people you met within 48 hours. Try and arrange a face to face meeting within two weeks.

Networking for business? That first email is the time to make use of your notes on the business card! Sending out a generic ‘it was nice to meet you’ email won’t generate as much of a response. Personalise the email, discuss how you could work together, or wish them luck on the big project they told you about.

What’s your top tip for effective networking?

Ali Coulson