10 Tips for Successful Washington DC Speed Networking

Editor's Note: This Post was submitted by Professionals in the City. Would you like to network with fellow female lawyers, law students, and entrepreneurs in your industry, and others? Professionals in the City, Ms. JD, and BlueprintJD have teamed up to host a Speed Networking to Build Diversity in the Law Event.  Join us November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC!

Whether you are a student, new in your field, or a seasoned professional, face-to-face networking is the most efficient way to make new professional business contacts, get advice from fellow alumnus, and expand your career opportunities.  Here are 10 tips for making the most of your time at a professional speed networking event:

1. Know your net worth- Why would someone want you in their network?  Whether it is your financial value, your education, your experience, or your high level of motivation, what are you bringing to the Washington DC Speed Networking table?

2. First impressions- Speed networking is essentially several first impressions back-to-back, and first impressions are everything!  Dress well.  Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and a smile.

3. Body language- During the Washington DC Speed Networking event, it is very important that you demonstrate professional body language, maintain good eye contact, and speak clearly with a level tone of voice.

4. Communication-  Listen and understand the other person’s networking angle.  Find out what they are looking to gain.  What can you offer them?  What can they offer you?  Allow the other person time to speak, and ask them any important questions that you have.

5. C.O.A.L.- Remember: Contact?, Opportunity?, Advice?, Lead?.  Be open-minded. You can take something from everyone you meet at Washington DC Speed Networking, and you can offer something to them.  Are they a valuable contact, can they provide you with a possible job opportunity, is there something they can teach you, or can one of you give the other a lead?  

6. Business cards- Bring business cards and hand one to everyone you meet.  Use the backs of other people’s business cards to make notes about them.

7. Show interest- Make a conscious effort to let someone know you will be following up with them after the Washington DC Speed Networking event by asking them their preferred method of communication.  Some people would rather communicate by email or phone while others value face to face meetings over coffee.  Take that into consideration.

8. Make valid connections- Remember, speed networking is about quality, not quantity.

9. Mix and mingle-  After the Washington DC Speed Networking portion of the event, take advantage of the opportunities to approach people who you would like to keep in touch with.  Also allow other people to approach you.  If they take the initiative, it is because they see a good reason for it.  This is your chance to exchange business cards, find out preferred method of contact, and ask any questions that you did not have the chance to ask before

10. Follow up- The saying “The fortune is in the follow-up” could not be any truer.  Let your leads know that it was nice to meet them.  Propose specific ways to help each other, and share referrals.  The Professionals in the City Speed Networking communication system makes following-up easier by allowing people to put a photo on their profiles so that you can remember who you met.

The art of in-person speed networking establishes the foundation for stronger professional relationships, builds rapport, and allows professionals to engage in conversation with each other’s full attention.  Professionals in the City organizes Washington DC Speed Networking so that you meet every person in attendance including mixer-style session at the end and also provides an exclusive forum to follow up with anyone you met even if you did not get their contact information at the event.  Join Ms. JD, BlueprintJD and Pros In The City November 8th!  Click here for more information.

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