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They're where confident individuals seem to work the room effortlessly, connecting, laughing, pitching. How do they do it without appearing awkward or pushy? How do they avoid those painful hours standing at the back of the room with someone they already know, business cards ungiven? We have all been there!
The secret may surprise you: They redefine networking.
Every person knows someone that someone else should know.
Think of networking as leveraging existing connections rather than cold-approaching strangers. Reaching out to old friends, asking for introduction and bonding over shared hobbies can transform the experience. Try these strategies:
Tap into Existing Connections: Your current network is richer than you think. Asking current friends for introductions to new connections can expand your network. ‘Hey, who do you know in the ‘Software Engineering’ space? Could they be at the event too?
Revive Dormant Ties: Reach out to people you've lost touch with. Just because you haven’t spoken for a while doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reconnect. They may have opportunities for you.
Share Interests and Hobbies: Connections over shared passions often feel natural and rewarding.
Signing up to groups: There are plenty of networking groups in the UAE for everyone from people in the product space to Dubai Young Professionals and Women Who Thrive. There really is a group for everyone.
Now, let’s go through our top tips for networking at the event:
Do your research - Research the companies, industries and key people who will be there. You can even download the event app in advance and map out the companies you want to talk to. Prepare some engaging questions and conversation starters.
You must know your audience! (Or even better, find a connection who does know them and can give you a warm introduction).
Have a clear objective - What does success look like for you at the event? Having clear goals will guide your actions and help you focus on what you want to achieve.
Are you business cards top quality? - Do your business cards show off your company? Are they unique and stand-out? Be sure to get top quality cards and show a bit of character, you want yours to be the one that people hold on to. It's often better to bring more cards than you think you may need.
Perfect your elevator pitch - You may only have a brief moment to impress someone. A concise and engaging pitch can make you memorable. Develop a 30/45 second pitch that encapsulates what you do and why it's exciting.
Practice until it feels as natural singing the happy birthday song.
Utilize social media – as we said above, social media can enhance your networking by allowing you to connect before, during and after the event. Follow event hashtags, engage with attendees online, share relevant content. Don't be shy about putting yourself out there and reaching out to people you want to meet.
Take notes & follow up - Networking doesn't end when the event does. Effective follow-up can turn a brief meeting into a meaningful connection. Send a personalized follow-up referencing your conversation and put a date in the diary to meet. Don't forget to take notes too, write in a notepad a few details about who you have met and any follow-up you may want to do.
Networking doesn't have to feel like a chore or a performance. By reframing the concept and applying these practical tips, you can become that confident person who navigates the room with ease.
We will be at GITEX event in Dubai on 16-20th October. If you are hiring in the tech space or looking for opportunities and are heading there let’s arrange a coffee.
Drop a message to the team at email@example.com
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