Building connections is a great way to get your foot in the door and open up fresh opportunities. But how you present and handle yourself as you make initial contact with new people holds a lot of weight.
We’re sure you’re no stranger to the phrase ‘first impressions count’. With that in mind, what can you do to create a positive image of yourself, while making sure you’ll be remembered for future projects?
Here are some of our top tips for introducing yourself at networking events.
Attend a variety of events
When you’re harnessing the power of networking, spreading yourself across a range of events is the best way to open up doors.
First, consider diversifying your events calendar. Be sure to attend any that you’ve already been to and found useful, but also head to new places to keep things fresh and broaden your outreach.
If you went to university, staying in touch with your classmates will help you build your initial network, and offer new events to attend too. Most universities even hold alumni gatherings, which can be a great place to meet new contacts.
Use non-verbal cues
What our body language says during an initial meeting is just as important as what our mouths say.
That’s why, when trying to create a good first impression, you need to make sure your non-verbal communication displays your willingness to connect.
Begin by smiling as you approach someone and maintain good posture. Then, establish eye contact and reach out for a firm handshake.
In doing so, you’re conveying openness and a genuine interest to connect. Plus, you’re more likely to have a positive impact that leaves a lasting impression.
Prepare a statement
Whether it’s an in-person or online event, knowing what to say as you introduce yourself to new people can be daunting. Just like in an interview, it’s normal for your mind to go completely blank.
Preparing a statement can help. It doesn’t have to be too long, just something that includes your full name, where you work or your target industry, and any key details about yourself.
These details will give your new contact something to remember you by. They could be anything, from your reason for attending the event, or even something that matters to you.
Try to keep it short and sweet – preferably around 30 to 60 seconds – and don’t forget to practise your delivery so it appears natural and authentic.
We’ve already mentioned how daunting networking events can be, especially if you're new to the scene. But displaying a sense of confidence is key to making a good first impression.
If given the opportunity, share your unique insight on meaningful topics that come up in conversation, and actively listen to others so you can gauge how best to respond.
Perhaps aim for individuals as opposed to groups. Holding a one-on-one discussion tends to be less intense, and will help you feel confident and make a more meaningful connection.
Of course, making a connection is only half the battle – now the work of maintaining it begins.
Maybe you’ve swapped business cards or contact details with the individual – but these can easily be forgotten once you’re back in the office. Instead, add them on LinkedIn, then send a personalised follow-up message to acknowledge what you took away from the event, and reiterate your interest in working together.
If you reach out first, you can make a good impression by mentioning something they said during your chat. And remember to express your gratitude for the conversation you had.
Be mindful that people are busy and may not get in touch with you straight away, but equally, make sure you keep in touch and use your new connections to your advantage.
Join the WRS talent network
Looking to broaden your horizons? WRS can help. Our team works with candidates around the world to match them with the right job opportunities across the energy industry.
Upload your CV to our database and start building new connections today.