Has it been a while since you attended a professional event? You are not alone!
Whether you have been at your first networking event in 18 months or are preparing to go to a mixer for the first time in a long time, PaySmart has a few tips for you.
Some of these tips may be reminders of networking etiquette. Other tips apply to some possible modifications to comply with etiquette due to the pandemic as adjustments may be needed.
Here are 13 Tips to Return to In-Person Networking :
1. Consider adjusting your greetings.
Whether refraining from hugging or asking before shaking hands with someone, one may want to consider simply being conscious that everyone has had different experiences with Covid. One may want to be prepared to ask, “Is it okay to shake hands?”
2. Make the most of your time.
Whether you are concerned about exposure or not, other business professionals in your community may be. This means that they may only be attending a limited amount of events. You may need to make the most of your time which may mean saying hello to familiar faces while attempting to connect with new associates.
3. Consider alternatives to passing business cards.
While the traditional method is to bring plenty of cards to pass along, which is still a suitable method for exchanging contact information, one may be prepared to ask for a name and number. Contact information can be added to their cell phone’s contact list or even notes for follow-up. This could potentially cut back on transmitting germs.
4. Be prepared to be patient with hospitality staff.
The hospitality industry struggles with staffing issues that could impact the level of service you may experience at events.
Decreased staffing may result in more self-serving stations at smaller events.
Replenishing food and beverage may be a bit slower than you remembered before the pandemic due to the continued staffing challenges.
5. Scope out the attendee list before you arrive to prepare to make connections.
Often mixers are posted on social media channels which may show a list of RSVPs.
Reviewing the RSVP list is a great way to gain some insight into who will be at an upcoming event. This provides an opportunity to do some research to have a good conversation with a potential prospect or power partner.
6. Be prepared to bring your mask and anti-bacterial cleanser.
One may need to be prepared to wear a mask if the host requires it.
As guidelines have changed several times over the past eighteen months, they could be mandated.
The event host may have this information on their website to learn more before the event.
7. Don’t forget to RSVP.
The hosts will also want to be sure they are prepared with enough tables, beverages, and name tags. They will want to make sure you are included if you wish to attend.
As we move forward, some facilities may have a capacity limitation. If the event is full, you may go on a waiting list.
8. Keep your expectations in check.
Many people get nervous about attending a networking event. Some people are introverted but recognize the importance of networking.
Even extroverts and natural marketers that may have been networking virtually for the past 18 months are transitioning back into this space. Change can create anxiety for all personality types.
Keep your expectations to a minimum and recognize that this is a commonality that everyone attending the event shares.
It could be a great ice breaker. “Hey, it has been such a long time since I have been in a room with so many like-minded professionals. It is almost overwhelming, isn’t it?”
9. Help others.
Networking 101 is about learning how you can help others, whether through making other introductions or recommendations.
When you help others, they feel the need to return the favor and “pay it forward.”
Be open to help others.
10. Have your 30 second commercial ready.
Having a quick intro elevator pitch explaining what you do ready and rehearsed will be helpful.
If you have not done this in a while, you may want to polish this up. If your services or products have changed since COVID, update your pitch as applicable!
11. Dress to impress.
You may have gotten away with wearing jeans while working from home, and it may even have been a while since you put your suit on.
Get your attire out a few days before the event, ensuring that clothes fit nicely and are ready to go!
12. Establish the goals of the event.
Whether it is to make an appearance or gain three new connections, know your goals to be purposeful of your time during the event.
It goes by quickly!
13. Have a follow-up plan.
Whether taking a picture of the cards you have received and email them to yourself or even putting a reminder on your calendar to follow up with individuals you have met at the event, ensure that you plan how and when to follow up with new contacts. Networking is a process!
As you head out to in-person events again, know that networking is a skill that you can continue to get better at with practice and repetition!
As a reminder, it has been a long time since many of the attendees at shared events have been at an in-person event!
While you may be nervous about attending the next event, know that we are all in the same boat together! Networking can be second nature to some and challenging for others.
PaySmart is looking forward to hosting our annual mixer on Friday, September 10th, 2021. If you would like to attend, RSVP today!
PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!