Networking can be intimidating. Between the awkward laughs, fish-like handshakes, and odd hellos that you can experience, it can be a little bit of a strange incident. Networking does not have to be this way, however. Networking can be rewarding and light-hearted. It can bring you peace not stress. Successful networking comes from successful planning. Planning for your networking event is no light activity. It takes thought and energy and a drive to accomplish what is necessary for your future endeavors.

Business Cards
Put your business cards in a business card holder in your pocket or purse. Don’t have business cards? Get some. You can get hundreds of business cards for only $10.00-$20.00 online. Put your first and last name, phone number (clarify if just for calls or calls and texts), email, and LinkedIn account. This way, the business card will be accurate no matter what company you work for. The LinkedIn account might not be something someone would think to put on a business card, but it can be very rewarding to grow your business network online. You can use this to grow your online presence in a positive light. This way, someone does not have to Google you, because let’s face it, no one has perfect search results!

Lay your clothes out the night before. This may seem like a cheesy thing to do, but it is worth it. When you are running from work, which you could maybe just wear your work clothes if professional enough, you have no time to think about what clothes to wear. Have something ready to go right for when you get home. This way, you will be fresh and ready to take the networking event by storm.

Elevator Pitch
Get your elevator pitch solid. In particular, you want to ask these four questions of yourself, and then, put your answers all together.

  1. What is your full name?
  2. What is your current position?
  3. What company do you work for?
  4. What are you looking to accomplish?

Once you have come up with succinct, substance-heavy answers to each of these questions, put all the answers together into one paragraph. Get out your stopwatch and track how long it takes you to say this paragraph. It should only take between twenty and thirty seconds in order to keep someone’s attention without monopolizing the entire conversation. This will give someone an answer to who you are and what you are about without having to dig for answers. This is nice to have at a networking event, because people are there to connect and engage others.

Preparing for a networking event can be an exciting activity to get you revved up for a networking event. It can get you prepared by making you forward thinking. Start to think of questions to ask people in order to get to know them better. Follow these three tips to prepare for a networking event, and you will be successful in meeting the right people at the right time.

Do you have more tips for how to prepare for a networking event? Tweet me @wdarrowfiedler with your ideas!