In the events industry, networking often plays an essential role in getting your foot in the door for your first big career break.
In fact, current data show that overall networks play a big role in hiring across all fields of business, including the events industry. Statistics from HubSpot and LinkedIn show between 70-85% of new hires are found through existing professional networks. With that in mind, any Event Management graduate entering into this people-centric field for the first time needs to consider how they are going to effectively expand their networks.
Although there are a lot of digital tools out there now, one of the best ways to do that is still through attending networking events in person. Graduates should expect to spend regular evenings at industry meetups and talks, chatting with professionals and getting to know some of the key players who make up your local scene. Plus, it’s essential to learn some basic follow-up skills if you want to make all those evenings worth your time and energy.
Luckily, Daniel Morris is here to help guide you through this process.
Daniel graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Event Management) at Torrens University Australia in August 2020. As a big sports fan all his life, it was his dream for a long time to work in the sports events side of the industry.
Daniel’s career in the years since graduating has been a steady trajectory upward. In 2020 he completed an Events Assistant internship and stepped up in 2021 into a paid role as an Event Coordinator for Cricket Australia.
All his hard work and initiative both inside and outside of the classroom has seriously paid off. Right now, Daniel is living his dream of working in sporting events, as the Coordinator of Stadium Events and Operations at GIANTS Stadium, Sydney Showground.
The 3 essential tips on how to network successfully
Daniel recently took some time out of his busy schedule to share his essential three tips for successful networking in the events industry.
This is a summary of the great advice that Daniel gave in his recent ‘Master in a Minute’ video tutorial for Torrens University.
Tip 1: Get to know your audience and find out who you want to meet beforehand
“The first tip is to get to know your audience,” said Daniel. “Do some research on who’s going to be there at the event and know who you want to impress. If there’s an event manager there, get to know them. A question I often ask is ‘how did you get to be in the event industry,’ or, ‘what are your personal hobbies and what do you enjoy outside of work?’”
Networking can be an exhausting process. You don’t want to spend your conversational energy building a genuine connection with someone, only to find out they don’t even work in your chosen field. You can look up other speakers and attendees on LinkedIn or Google, and when you’re chatting with them, be interested in them as a person and keep it genuine and natural.
Tip 2: Use engaging body language and if you’re nervous, hold something
“Another great tip: body language. It’s all about engagement. Open yourself up more and talk to that person. Have something in your hands if you feel a little bit nervous; this will help you succeed,” explained Daniel.
Being conscious of body language doesn’t mean striking a pose or acting unnaturally. Instead, you want to send signals through your body that you are relaxed and interested in the person you’re speaking to. This will put your conversational partners at ease. Tips on how to do that include: keeping your shoulders back and body relaxed, maintaining good eye contact and focusing your attention on the person you’re speaking to.
Tip 3: Are you hesitant or introverted? Tag team with a friend.
“Tip three is to get to know yourself. Are you an extrovert? Will you feel comfortable at this event? Or, are you an introvert? Then, tag team with a friend; these events are a lot easier when you do it side-by-side,” Daniel revealed.
If going to events alone makes you awkward, nervous, and unable to interact naturally with others, then don’t do it. It’s ok to not be a natural networker. It’s a better investment of time to take a friend along and network together, rather than force yourself to do it badly.
How to follow up after a networking event?
“Congratulations, you’ve made it through your networking event. Now comes the follow-through. How are you going to stay on top of the minds of all of those employers and people that you met within the event industry?
Don’t be afraid to ask for details. Can I add you on LinkedIn? Could you put your phone number here? This is a great way to follow up, post-event,” Daniel explained.
Follow-up is an essential final step in the networking process. A great way to contact the people you met at your networking event is to write to them soon afterwards asking for advice or help with questions regarding the industry. Most people are happy to help young graduates out with advice when they are contacted, and it demonstrates initiative and enthusiasm.