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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Attending a TARGETjobs Event? Chances are there will be a networking opportunity! We spoke to Project Manager Becca who gave us her top tips!

Name: Becca Ritchie-Timms
Job title: Project Manager,TARGETjobs Events team

I work with the TARGETjobs Events team to deliver a wide variety of events which always include networking sessions. So here are my five top tips to working the room:

1.      Read the room
People stand in circles. A wider circle is open to anyone to join. A closed circle usually denotes a private conversation. Closed circles are not common at our events so if you are not sure, hover outside a circle: if they are open they will widen to invite you in.

2.      Join a group
Conversations rarely cease at networking sessions so don’t be afraid of offending by joining mid-flow. Introduce yourself when there is a pause in conversation. How you do this is up to you; there are various styles. I would suggest for the purpose of TARGETjobs Events, that you stick to your name.

3.      Engage
Ask questions: if you are interested in other people, they will be interested in you. Let the conversation flow naturally and be yourself.

4.      Know when to leave a group
Leaving without feeling rude can be the most difficult part of networking. To get the most out of a networking session, make sure that you move around the room. Decide whether there is more to be gained by remaining in your current group. If not, wait until the current person speaking has finished. Thank the group and tell them that it has been a pleasure to meet them. You can either move straight on to another group or, if you feel uneasy, make an excuse eg to get a drink. Then wait a moment before moving onto another group.

Warning, if someone leaves your group to ‘get a drink’ it is possible that they want to move on to another group. Try not to follow someone around the room to achieve your own goals. You could be in danger of being a pest and no one wants that. Think of the responses they have given you in your conversation and if you believe there is a contact to be made, try approaching them again later on in the session.

5.      Exchanging contact details

Striking up a good conversation can bring you great value but only if you follow up with your new contacts later. You will know when you have struck gold with a contact. Ask them if you can exchange contact details. You can do this toward the end of your conversation, or if you are confident that you will have time and opportunity, go back to them at the end of the networking session. Choose a method that works best for you: this could be finding them on a site like LinkedIn or exchanging business cards. Make sure that you follow up with a simple ‘hello’ stating where you’ve met a couple of days afterwards.