Three people chatting at a networking event.

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Networking Event

On the surface, networking might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But there’s no doubt that it can be incredibly valuable. Whether you’re looking for a job role, new clients, or learning opportunities, there’s so much to be gained from making connections outside your regular circle. 

At Uncommon, we understand the importance of community, and our regular networking events are designed to help create and strengthen the bonds between our members. We also try our very best to make them as relaxed and welcoming as possible. 

That said, we also recognise that stepping into a room of new people and striking up a conversation can be a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your next networking event—whether it’s with Uncommon or elsewhere. 

Tip 1: Come prepared

Networking events don’t have to be stressful, but a little prep can go a long way.

Start by thinking about what you bring to the table—your skills, strengths, and experience. It’s much easier to feel confident talking to new people when these things are front of mind. 

It’s also worth rehearsing a short and straightforward description of what it is that your business does (and your role in it). Whilst you won’t necessarily be pitching to your new connections, you’ll still want to make sure that people come away understanding what you do. 

If you’re concerned about awkward silences, have a few easy ice-breaker questions up your sleeve, too. It’s an easy way to make conversations more relaxed and enjoyable from the beginning. 

For instance: 

  • “Do you know anyone else here?”
  • “How long have you been a part of your company?”
  • “Are you working on anything particularly interesting?”
  • “Are you facing any particular challenges in your role at the moment?”
  • “What kind of professional development areas are interesting to you right now?”
  • “What is something that someone outside of your role would not know?”

And, if you have them, bring your business cards. Many people forget to do so—but these pieces of paper are literally designed to help you exchange contact details quickly and easily. 

Don’t be coy with them, either; be proactive and hand them out without waiting to be asked. Worst case scenario, the other person doesn’t contact you. Best case, you spark an ongoing connection. 

Tip 2: Don’t just talk—listen, too

Networking isn’t just for ‘outgoing’ people. Even if you’re shy, you can still gain a lot from the experience.

One of the key points in Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is that everyone loves to talk about themselves. This can be particularly useful insight for the more introverted among us.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself a lot, focus on listening well instead. Actively pay attention, show that you value what others are saying, and let them share their experiences. 

Chances are, they’ll love doing so. And this way, you create meaningful connections without pretending to be someone you’re not.

You don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to make the most of networking. By being present and engaged, you can leave an event with multiple valuable connections, no matter your personality type.

Tip 3: Seek out ways to help others

There’s a common misconception that networking is all about personal gain—finding connections that will benefit you from the get-go. 

However, successful networkers will often approach a networking event from a different angle: prioritising helping others, rather than themselves. 

Consider what your strengths and passions are, and the kind of support people often approach you for. Then, if you come across any opportunities where your skills match another person’s challenge, offer them up. 

While helping someone else might not have any immediate benefits, it showcases your value to them and helps establish a stronger connection. 

And, of course, it’s not a completely selfless endeavour. As time goes on, those you’ve supported are likely to return the favour.

Tip 4: Make connections between others

Another way to level up your networking game is to become really good at connecting other people. 

For instance, if you come across a company looking for social media guidance, why not introduce them to your team’s content manager, who you know wants to expand their experience? 

Or, if a busy CEO you meet mentions that they’re looking to outsource some of their admin, link them up with a virtual PA agency you’ve had a good experience with.

These introductions not only benefit the individuals involved but also add extra value to the overall networking event. Taking this proactive approach tends to be remembered, leaving a positive impression on everyone involved.

Being the person who connects others can make you stand out and might lead to favours coming your way in the future.

Tip 5: Never dismiss anyone

Try to avoid making quick judgments about the people you meet at networking events.

For instance, if you start chatting with someone in a completely different industry or role to you, don’t write them off immediately. Everyone has something valuable to offer.

Take a moment to ask less obvious questions and dig a bit deeper. You might be surprised by the connections this person has or the insights they’re able to share. Talking to people with different backgrounds and knowledge can be pretty inspiring and help you think in new ways.

Try not to be too hierarchical, either. Even senior professionals can learn a lot from juniors—whether it’s about the latest trends, more recent training, or different ways of tackling problems. Stay open-minded, and you might find unexpected connections and ideas.

Tip 6: Always follow up 

Once an event has ended, it can be tempting to simply move on to the next thing on your to-do list. But before you do so, don’t forget to follow up with your new connections. 

This is a crucial step in cementing new relationships. The buzz from the networking event can fade fast, and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste.

Even if someone you chatted to doesn’t have a job or lead for you immediately, it’s still worth reaching out and connecting on LinkedIn. Who knows: they might have something for you in the future, and now they have an easy way to get in touch.

Tip 7: Don’t stop at the end of the event

Networking isn’t just for events! At Uncommon, community is a core component of our membership, and our spaces are designed to facilitate valuable connections day in and day out. 

Whether you’re waiting for your coffee from our in-house barista or attending one of our complimentary yoga sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to build bonds with your fellow members.

Make networking a part of your everyday routine. The benefits extend far beyond scheduled events—and by always keeping an open mind, you’ll increase your chances of discovering valuable connections and opportunities.

Not yet an Uncommon member?

If you’re interested in joining a community of purpose-driven businesses and entrepreneurs, get in touch. We have private offices, hot desks, and dedicated desks available across our five London locations: Liverpool Street, Borough, Fulham, Highbury & Islington, and Holborn (Opening 2024).

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