Ken Lear Networking

Flickr CC via Dell’s Official Flickr Page

I’m Ken Lear, an entrepreneur, sales expert, and leader.

Networking events can be intimidating for a lot of people. Maybe you don’t know what to wear, what to say, or how to act. Networking is an essential part of a successful career, so learning how to be confident and know what you’re talking about is essential. Follow these tips for your next networking event, and you’ll make a great impression.

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Dress the Part

Even if you work for a laid-back company that allows you to wear jeans and a T-shirt to work, that doesn’t mean you should wear that to a networking event. Dress like you would dress for an interview: professional and classic.

Speak Up

You may be a reserved person or fairly quiet, but people don’t generally remember the quiet person in the corner at a networking event. Find your confidence and project it while you are talking to people. If you don’t sound like you know what you’re talking about, why would they hire you?

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Have a Great Opening Line

LearnVest chatted with three networking veterans to find what opening lines worked for them. They can be as simple as, “I just tried a slider from the buffet table, and I think I’m going to grab another. Care to join me?” or “I was just on LinkedIn and saw that you worked with so-and-so too.” Make sure you have something interesting to say when you approach someone – or they might not stay to chat very long.

Find a Way to Connect

If you’re chatting with someone and they mention how much they love basketball or your favorite TV show – let them know. Bonding over your favorite team or lines from Friends will make them remember you.

Remember Your Business Cards

There is nothing worse that meeting someone and not having a business card to give them. While there are other ways to connect, it’s best to have some handy.

Use the 80/20 Rule for Following Up

People spend too much time trying to meet new people, and not enough time following up and keeping those relationships. Just because you met someone at a networking event and connected on LinkedIn, doesn’t mean they are going to help you in the future. After spending that time getting to know someone, make sure you spend even more time following up and nurturing the relationship.