Fortunately I got the opportunity to attend the company Deloitte’s networking event last Friday and I rarely attend events such as this and therefore was fairly a new experience for myself.
The event was very informative, pretty loud with everyone talking but overall enjoyable. There were also small complimentary snacks and beverages, a short powerpoint presentation and a raffle contest. The event was held in a really nice venue and was set up with different tables for the different departments within the firm. Each department was color coated including peoples name tags and the attendees such as myself were given a key card to help us identify who and where our interests are located.
Being as I have now experienced a networking event, I thought it would be nice to share for other people who may be thinking or soon going to be attending one, a few tips.
Firstly register. You normally are asked to register online before attending, even though they allow and encourage walk-ins as well. I say make sure you register! This means you are in the system and it is easily evident that you made effort to attend the networking event and have shown interest, if ever you went to apply for a job or was in an interview. It just looks really good!
Bring someone with you. I know it is important for you to be the one making the initiative and showing that you are interested but I think bringing a friend with you is a good idea. I brought a friend who has no interest in a business career which I found better, because I had support from her being with me but did not have to share the conversation or compete when interacting with the firms members. Having someone with you will make being there a little less uncomfortable, scary or awkward and you are less likely to just give up and leave.
Be honest. I found this to be one of the most important tips I would give to someone thinking of attending networking events but are normally shy or nervous like myself. I was very honest and this way it made it a lot easier to communicate. Instead of thinking of fancy ways and talking about goals, when I am not even sure what I really would like to do, I was honest and told them, I am open for trying new things and gain experience as I have not decided specifically on what I would like to do as a career. This worked super well and they reassured me and told me within their firm, you can start in one department and move around until you find a place you really like. Talking to anyone within the firm, even if it is not of any interest to your goals, you will still gain insight, communicating skills and overall an experience. Step out of your comfort zone for a little, you will more likely be upset with yourself if you don’t.
Make sure you get all the information you wanted or need. I heard about the internship Deloitte offers and made sure I got information about that and therefore allowed me to apply when I got home. This is good as I am registered as attending the event, communicating with many of the team members and now have applied for an internship. Beginner steps are better than not doing anything at all.
Dress to impress. Make sure you look appropriate. Wear whatever you would wear if you were hired and actually worked within the business. Professional and appropriate are very important, remember first impressions mean everything.
If you have any questions or more tips, please send them in the comments. 🙂