How to Maximize the Benefit of your next Networking Event

Being part of an industry professional group like the SCC is a great idea for cosmetic chemists because it provides numerous opportunities for learning and networking.  But if you don’t plan ahead, you may not be getting the most out of your visits to meetings.  Here are seven ways you can maximize the benefits you get from attending industry meetings and events.

Prepare yourself

If you want to interact with people at a cosmetic industry event, you should be up to date on any significant events that are affecting the industry.  The best way to do this is to read industry trade journals or check out the feeds at various online resources that are valuable to cosmetic chemists.  Here are some of my favorites.

1.  GCI
2.  Happi

Prepare a good introduction

Think about the way you introduce yourself and develop something that is memorable.  Think of it as an elevator pitch for yourself and what you (or your company) can do for the person you’re meeting.  You should include relevant information about yourself, your job, your background, and most importantly, what you are trying to accomplish.  Also, be sure to hand out a business card and collect them from the people that you are meeting.

Get introduced to people

There is no sense going to a meeting surrounded by lots of people and not mingling and meeting them.  So be sure to get to the meeting early and start meeting people that you see there.  Now is not the time to be shy.  A good place to start is to begin talking with the people who are collecting registration names and fees.  Get a sense of who will be there and who they think you should meet.

Meet as many people as you can

Once you get started, keep talking to as many people as you can.  It isn’t enough to introduce yourself however.  Be sure to learn about them.  See if you can get some information about their background and the main problem that they are looking for help solving.  It can be anything and if you can offer some help, most people will be immensely grateful.  After introducing yourself focus on speaking in terms of the other person.  People are less interested in you than they are in themselves.  So, make an effort to be interested in them.

Meet the Organizers and the Speaker

Make it a point to meet with the people who run the organization and with the speaker.  The group organizers are always looking for help in getting things accomplished (especially in volunteer organizations like the SCC) and this is the perfect time to volunteer to be on some committee.  A great way to network in a group is to be associated with a committee.  Also, go meet the speaker.  Compliment them on their talk (if you liked it) and find out a little more about them.  You might be able to help them with some project in the future.

Follow-up & stay in touch with people you meet

While people might have a fun evening with you at the meeting, it’s unlikely that the first time you meet someone they will remember much about you.  So, be sure to follow up with everyone who’s business card you collected.  Send them an email and remind them of who you are and what you talked about.  Also, offer to allow them to contact you if they think you could help them out with any project in the future.  Send an email within 12 – 24 hours and see if you can find the new people you met on LinkedIn.  Be sure to send them a contact invitation.  Another good suggestion is to give the person you met some reason to get back in contact with you.  Stay in touch and contact them whenever you hear positive news about their company, them, or some other thing that they are interested in.

Nearly all jobs are filled because someone happens to know someone who knows about a job.  And a number of problems are solved just by two people talking about them and connecting with solutions.  Networking is vital to any career so it’s a good idea to learn to get good at it.  SCC meetings and other industry events are a great place to start.

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