This past week the Matter Portland office took a trip to an evening networking event hosted by Women In Information Technology (WITI), a group hosts get-together’s for women working in the technology industry. As we headed out the door we were all excited to get our feet wet in the local community, building relationships with other professional women in the technology world – and it didn’t hurt that the event was taking place at a Jaguar R&D center.
If you haven’t been to a networking event for some time, the idea of chatting with new people can be overwhelming and intimidating. However, networking events are a great opportunity to forge new connections since everyone in the room is there because they are interested in expanding their network and learning about new companies, people, and opportunities in the area.
So, if you are feeling a little bit rusty here are some great ways to prepare:
- Practice your elevator pitch: At a networking event everyone wants to know who each other is, who they work for, and what they do there. You want to be able to share this information quickly, concisely, but still with personality.
- Put on your happy face: How likely are you to walk up to someone who is scowling? Not very. You want to put off an open vibe that will invite people to come speak with you. What’s one easy way to do this? Smile and meet the eyes of those around you.
- Dress the part: Depending on the venue and event you may want to dress up, or down. Do a little bit of research beforehand. Is the event taking place at a nice location, or somewhere more low key?
- Get excited: You only have as much fun at these events as you allow yourself to. Take advantage of the opportunity and get excited about all of the people you will meet. There’s no shame in playing a little pump up music.
You never know who you may meet that will be a great connection in the future. Think about it this way, the Portland team works with mostly technology clients, so connecting with women in technology startups or established companies may open doors for new business down the road. Similarly, if there is a technology journalist at the event taking a moment to chat may help you gain insight into her interests, which gives you great pitching insight to take to work.