Here are 5 ways to make the most of a networking event

Networking events can often be very useful for meeting new people and expanding your professional contact base, but such programmes are not just about exchanging business cards and shaking hands. Brinda Dasgupta talks to experts to find out how to turn meetings with people at networking events into lasting professional relationships.

Do Your Research
Knowing the background of the speakers and other attendees at the networking programme you are going to be attending will stand you in good stead. “Be sure to look up a few of the main people who are going to be there. Going through their LinkedIn profiles will also help you find common connections and areas of interest,” said Kannan Ramamurthy, director of engineering programmes at Juniper Networks.

Know Why You Are
There Have a clear reason for attending the networking event. “Everyone has a different purpose for attending a networking programme; be sure to figure out yours,” said Ramamurthy. Steve Correa, human resources head at United SpiritsBSE -1.42 %, said, “The programmes you attend must have some personal usability for you.”

Focus On Others
In order to maximise a networking opportunity, sit with people you don’t know. “Use the time to share professional stories and successes which will help you bond with new contacts. Engage the people you meet in a conversation that focuses on them,” said Mona Cheriyan, group head of human resources at Thomas Cook India

Make An Impression
Everyone watches each other at such an event to gauge what they are like. “Have a good posture, smile and be noticed. Combine your professionalism with personality as you engage others in conversation,” said Cheriyan.

Follow Up
Be sure to follow through with people you meet at networking events, ideally within the next 48 hours. “Doing so soon after the programme will ensure you are still fresh in these acquaintances’ minds. Make sure that any information you send is of interest to the other person as this will start a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Correa.

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