If you followed me on Instagram a couple of weekends ago, you might have seen that I was in New York City attending one of the most inspirational networking events there is;
Create + Cultivate (C+C) is a modern day networking event for female entrepreneurs in the digital space who are trying to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. The people who attended ranged from graphic designers, bloggers, and photographers, to big business employees and freelancers. These were my people.
I had been to C+C before when it was in LA last May and it blew my mind. I had no idea anything that size could be so put together, so stylized and so beneficial to today's digital age.
When I heard it was headed to NYC for the biggest and baddest one yet, I knew I had to go. So I called up my NYC gal pal, Diana Davis (check out Diana's creative site HERE), and booked a flight to the Big Apple.
I was way too excited for my own good.
This year's C+C event was everything I dreamed of and then some. With over 500+ attendees and tons of the best known vendors and sponsors out there, I knew the networking opportunities were going to be surreal. And I was ready.
Since going to that conference twice now as well as attending many others in the past, I've definitely developed my own art to networking. There are a few major things to keep in mind when it comes to meeting new people and putting you and your business out there.
That's why The Wellness Rookie has you covered with my top dos and don'ts of modern day networking. Because trust me, you don't want to be left in the dust.
The Dos and Don'ts of Modern Day Networking
Do: Ask people their handles. If you’re going to a more modern, young networking event like Create + Cultivate, almost everyone attending will be on social media. Since social media has the power to connect people all across the globe, I definitely recommend asking someone for their social handle (the @ name on their Instagram + Twitter) instead of their business card. I mean think about it, how many times do we walk around carrying someone’s business card versus our own cell phone? Social handles are the way of the future.
Don’t: Be a business card whore. The number one thing I absolutely can’t stand at networking events are the people that give their business cards to me before I can even get my name in. It’s like “Hi, I’m...HERE YA GO! Call me.” Chilllll, bro. No one wants to be that person.
Do: Eat before you go. No one has the energy to network on an empty stomach. Eating a meal or a snack that has healthy fats and protein will keep you satisfied for longer than say that sugary latte. You’ll need all the energy you can get.
Don’t: Eat while you network. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people at networking events that insist on shoving their faces while trying to explain what they do for a living. Uhm, excuse me…you have something in your teeth. Word to the wise, if you’re going to eat, just eat by yourself. It won’t kill you to take a 15-minute break from talking.
Do: Wear comfortable clothes. Usually networking events are a little awkward to begin with, so if you’re wearing shoes that make you walk like a baby giraffe or clothes that you have to keep adjusting, chances are you look like an idiot. Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.
Don’t: Try and be trendy if you just aren’t trendy. I’ve been to quite a few conference and networking events, and some of those were primarily fashion-based (cough, cough, Create + Cultivate LA). I tried to wear something I considered “trendy” and fashionable and felt like a complete fraud the entire time. Just do you.
Do: Listen to what people have to say. In general, people really really like to talk about themselves, and they like it more when people seem genuinely interested. So listen to them! Ask questions. It’s also a great idea to have a list of questions (instead of “how’s the weather”) in your mind ahead of time for when the conversation goes a little stale.
Don’t: Talk the entire time. People only remember 37% of what you say, so try not to overrule the conversation. Ask a few questions, make some comments about your work/life, and keep that back and forth flow going.
Do: Follow-up with everyone you met. Whether that’s with an Instagram comment and follow or an email, sending a quick “hello, nice to meet you” will go a long way. You never know whom you’ll be connected to.
Don’t: Be a fly on the wall. I know networking events can be really tough for some people and quite painful for others, but they don’t have to be! Instead of thinking about networking events as “networking events” think of them as an opportunity to meet new and interesting people. I can’t tell you how much that has helped me along the way.
I hope this list of dos and don’t to modern day networking will help you at your next event. If you just relax, sit back and enjoy the whole process, putting yourself out there will feel a lot more natural and bring a lot more opportunities your way.
It’s time to finally cultivate the career of your dreams.