The small talk, the influx of business cards, the hors d’oeuvres—a networking event isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, some people flat out dread them.
We get it—you’ve already had a long day at work, and you’re still expected to go talk about work, after hours, with a group of strangers? It’s not exactly a recipe for a relaxing evening.
That said, we also have to say this: networking events are important, and for more reasons than you might think. Here are some of the reasons why you should make an effort to attend business networking events.
Expand your network.
Networking events are, above all, a chance to expand your network. You never know when you’re going to need to turn to the “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” way of doing things. It never hurts to have connections with other people in your industry or related industries, so put yourself out there and start meeting people.
Make deeper connections.
Networking events also give you the chance to deepen your relationships with people you already know. Maybe you see the same person at several different networking events, indicating that you have a lot in common. Maybe a networking event gives you the chance to spend more time with a coworker so you can work better together. Either way, networking events are great ways to foster meaningful relationships.
Refine your “pitch.”
“What do you do?” This is the question you’ll get asked—over and over again—at networking events. The more you answer, the more you’ll be able to refine your pitch and give a clear, concise summary of who you are, what you do, and what you’re passionate about. This can go a long way as you’re trying to impress people and make new connections, so you should take all the practice you can get.
Discover new opportunities.
If you think it might be time to move on from your current place of work, if you’re considering switching careers, or if you’re actively looking for a job, networking events are great places to start. You might meet someone who has your dream job, and can give you tips on how to get there. You might meet someone who works for a great company you didn’t know existed. Expanding your horizons will open the doors to new opportunities you weren’t aware of before.
Stay on top of things.
Most networking events aren’t just for socializing. Many of them also have speakers or presentations about relevant topics. This means that these events are just as much opportunities to learn and stay on top of your industry as they are chances to expand your network.
Increase your value.
A well-connected employee who is up-to-speed on relevant topics and goes above and beyond to further their career? That’s every company’s dream. Attending networking events can really increase your value at work, which can only mean good things for the future of your career.
Related: Is AI Coming for Your Job?
Even if you aren’t excited about attending networking events, it’s important to make an effort to do so. You’ll learn new things, meet new people, and discover new opportunities. Happy networking!
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