Recently, Ragan Communications held an event at The Playground Theater for a night of free drinks, comedy, and networking. Some of the networking going on was more comical than the show—and the show was pretty funny.
After looking through the guest list, I found that most of the people in attendance were interns from various companies throughout Chicago. It’s great that fellow interns and millennials are taking advantage of networking opportunities, but just because there’s free booze—millennials shouldn’t treat networking like a big party.
Here are three things to keep in mind, the next time you accept an invite to network:
I talked with many people throughout the night. But when it was time to exchange information, many weren’t prepared to do that. Make business cards. If you don’t want to spend the money on having them professionally made, at least run by Target and pick up a box to print them on your computer.
Watch what you drink
Note to fellow networkers: It’s not a good idea to talk about how many free drinks you had at the event and how you plan to go to the bars afterwards. Whether you are talking to someone who works for the company hosting the event or just another professional in attendance, you should always remain professional. Sorry, guys— this isn’t a frat party.
I love meeting people on Twitter and networking with them using LinkedIn, but walking into a room with dozens of professionals is a bit intimidating. The best thing you can do is just walk right up to someone and introduce yourself. Especially if it is someone you are eager to meet. Many people at the event expressed interest in meeting our CEO (@MarkRaganCEO), but very few worked up the nerve to walk up to him and say hello. Networking is about being fearless—or at the very least, saying hi.
What other advice would you give to millennials attending networking events?