November 26, 2019

It’s a busy time of year for networking events! Although I’m naturally introverted, I try to attend as many logistics events as I can, as I find it’s a great way to make new connections in supply chain and logistics, as well as re-connect with folks I haven’t seen for a while.

The challenge many people face at networking events is making that first connection. If everyone is already engaged in conversation, how do you break in? How do you initiate contact?

1. Hang out by the food. 

Most networking functions will have a food table or a bar, or both! When someone is standing in line for a drink, or getting a plate of food, it can be a great opportunity to catch their attention and strike up a conversation.

2. Slow down.

Sometimes folks are so focused on getting their food or drink that they don’t notice what’s around them. Slow down. Look around. Focus on the people around you, instead of the food or drink in front of you.

3. Make eye contact.

I often see people wandering aimlessly, eyes darting left and right like an animal in a cage. Keep your eyes up, observe your surroundings, look people in the eye. If you catch someone’s attention, smile. Pause and introduce yourself, ask what brings them to the event.

4. Find someone you know. 

When I’m at a networking event I often look for just one person who looks familiar. If you see someone you know, even if they’re already talking to someone else, give them a smile and a wave. Chances are good that they’ll introduce you to the person they’re speaking with.

5. Have the right mindset.

The majority of people who attend a networking event are there to expand their network and meet someone new. Maybe you are the person they want to meet! Remind yourself of this, and it may give you the boost of confidence that you need.

Bonus Tips:

1. Don’t force it.

If people are actively engaged in conversation don’t barge in. There will be lots of other people at the event you can connect with.

2. Know when to take a break.

Be respectful of the other person’s time. Once you have a discussion going, don’t cling to the conversation if it’s reached a natural end.

Now that you’ve broken into the conversation, what should you say? Just ask questions. Take an interest. Click this link for some additional suggestions:

Networking is a fantastic way to develop your career, whether it’s finding a mentor, supplier, or a potential customer. Focus on the person you’re speaking with, be curious, and have fun!

Want to put these tips into practice? There are plenty of networking opportunities for supply chain and logistics professionals happening right now. Connect with us and let us help you get in touch with other talented supply chain and logistics professionals.

As Chair of the CITT Toronto Area Council, I’m part of the team that is organizing a great networking event for logistics professionals. It’s taking place November 27, 2019 in Mississauga. Please click this link for details:

I hope to see you there!

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