Attending events like leadership retreats, peer-to-peer dinners, and conventions will expand your professional network. However, if you want to make the most of these gatherings, you have to make an active effort to connect with others. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to strike up a conversation with a stranger, but establishing a strong bond can lead to priceless opportunities. The following advice will help you talk to other professionals and boost your career.
3 Tips for Making Connections at Networking Events
1. Be Approachable
Whether you’re at a medical conference or a leadership retreat, try to make eye contact and smile at other attendees. Approachable body language will let the other participants know that they can engage with you. Unfold your arms and relax your eyebrows to avoid looking unfriendly.
Don’t be afraid to go up to those who are exhibiting inviting body language themselves. A friendly introduction and a handshake should be enough to start the conversation.
2. Open With a Question
Asking a simple question will help you connect with someone. Depending on the event, you might already know about the person’s profession before opening the conversation. If this is the case, ask how they got into the field.
Otherwise, make a generic inquiry, like “Is this the first time you’ve attended an event like this?” Regardless of their answer, you can follow up by asking what they hope to get out of it. These questions can help you find a common ground and bond over your similarities.
3. Share Industry Concerns
At professional networking events, you can talk passionately about your job without boring anyone. The other attendees are all interested in the same topic and will likely engage in a thought-provoking discussion.
Think about where you are in your professional career. Did you just start an ambitious research project? Are you hoping to collaborate with others in the field? Could you use some strategies for reducing turnover? If you’re not sure where to steer the conversation, discussing any current concerns and problems can help you find some answers.
If you’re a clinician, contact Metro Collaborative™ to connect with other health care professionals. Based in New York City, this networking group hosts events like leadership retreats and peer-to-peer dinners for their valued members. They also offer business coaching services for private practices. To learn more about their many networking opportunities, visit their website. To reserve a spot at their next leadership retreat, call (609) 876-9163.