How to (Net)work a Room


Learn how to work a room to network for career opportunities.

How to (net)work a room
Learn how to work a room to network up close and personal for career opportunities

Measure the room for networking
Whether you are going to a job fair, association meeting, network group or a party down the street, if you want to work the room successfully, do your homework first. Know who's who - especially the hosts, notables and prospects. Find out the times and the format of the event. Plan to arrive early, stay late and connect by helping to set up or clean up!

Meet people before the meeting
Do your homework on the key people you want to meet. Go to the web and "Google" them and their companies, checking out LinkedIn profiles, or visiting their websites, clicking “about us” and “careers,” and printing key pages for folders marked with company names. If you have referrals to prospects, call them in advance and ask if you may meet them for a few minutes at the event.

Dress for meeting success
Be clean, neat and trimmed with no cologne or perfume. Find out the appropriate attire. Pick clothing that fits, matches your coloring, is compatible with the group and comfortable for you. Select a tie, jewelry or something distinctive that marks your individuality.

Equipment for network connections
When working a room, you need the right equipment. For informal and social events, you need three kinds of cards: one with a list of people you want to meet, another with bullet points of 30-second job search focus, and finally a pocket full of personal business cards with your name, number, email and specialties by function and industry. For business and career events, you can also bring a shoulder case and folder, resumes or bios, and file folders on "Googled" prospects.

Meet, greet and repeat
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Great meetings and greetings begin with eyes connecting, lips smiling, firm handshaking and a "good morning (afternoon or evening). My name is _____." Wait for the other person to offer their name, and then repeat it back to be sure you heard it right. Then ask a question about them followed by active listening.

Effective communication - only 7% words
Thirty-eight (38) percent is your tone of voice, which you can enhance by speaking clearly, while varying emphasis, pace and volume. Fifty-five (55) percent is body language, which you can accent by smiling and raising your eyebrows, leaning forward and not back, using hand gestures without fidgeting, standing straight but not stiff, and observing personal space boundaries, not being too close.

Common ground leads to a next step
Share your career search elevator pitch as opportunity provides, but focus on connecting via shared interests or experiences. Relationship leads to referrals and results. Think of it as "netweaving" - in which you do unto others as you would like to have done to you. Discover that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

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