Network and connect: How do networking events work?

Networking events for hospitality recruitment can either be a dull affair or a great opportunity to get your face seen in the industry – it all depends on how much you take advantage of the situation. Many people will misunderstand the true purpose of such events, when really you should be doing your utmost to ‘work the room’. Remember, these events are not just about business; they could be a great way to meet some new friends and colleagues along the way.

The fine details

Before you even set off to the event, it is important to know what kind of event it is and what the theme will be. Consider keynote speakers, what will be discussed, the crowd that will be attending and the main theme of the event. This will enable you to prepare beforehand and know exactly what to expect and potentially what you could gain from it.

Try and also determine who will be attending. A list of those coming to the event may be on the event’s website, or some firms even set up a ‘meet up’ group on Facebook or LinkedIn. You may want to make a specific list of individuals you want to talk to at the event, while researching their online profiles will highlight your knowledge and dedication. However, try and do this in the least ‘stalker’ way possible. Nobody likes to feel that they have been targeted.

You want to stand out from the crowd, so even though you will be dressed smartly, wearing an eye-catching tie or a lapel pin will be small additions that get people to remember you.

The ideal networker

When you first arrive, give yourself a short period of time to get in the right mindset and assess the room. You are there to connect with others, leave good impressions and find people that may be able to help you in the future. Working the room is key here, so spend a lot of your time interacting with others, even if they are not in your specific industry.

Open any conversation with a smile to break the ice, while an introduction pitch should be prepared beforehand. The rule of three comes in play here with your name. Use this format: “Hi, my name is Robert. [Pause for a second]. Robert Smith” In the conversation, when telling an anecdote say, “I once got told from an expert, ‘Robert, you should do this…’” This will make sure they don’t forget your name.

Like any conversation principle, information should be exchanged equally between both parties. Ask questions about their business, and let them know where you are at in your career.

Finishing on a good note

Ensure that you have your business cards with you. You could have a great conversation with a professional, but there is no point if they don’t remember you, or have any way to get in touch with you. During the conversation, exchange cards and ensure you make note of where you met them and what was discussed afterwards.

If you do not have cards, take theirs and promise them that you will be in touch soon.

It’s that simple. And you may just go home with a new friend or two.