If you’re in charge of planning a meeting, chances are your attendees will be networking. Send invitees the four tips below prior to the meeting to help them make the most of the event. This value-add is a great way to energize them for the event and another touchpoint with which to encourage attendance.Monona Terrace

It can be intimidating to walk into a room filled with professionals, so remind yourself that you’re at the event to make connections. Follow these four tips to become a better networker:

1.  What’s in a name? Meeting someone once and running into them later can cause a panic-stricken moment as you try to recall their name. Meeting many people at an event can make that name recall almost impossible. Here are a few ways to clear those cobwebs:

  • When first introduced to an individual, be sure to repeat their name (“Nice to meet you, Becca”).
  • Use a mnemonic device or alliteration (e.g., Holly likes to hike or Maggie is in marketing).
  • Focus on the individual. Many memory experts point out that one of the main reasons we forget someone’s name is that we’re not really focused on learning it in the first place.

2.  Prepare icebreakers. Come up with five icebreakers prior to an event to help make introductions less awkward. Safe topics usually include questions about food and travel. Everyone has to eat and most people love to explore!

3. Consider nonverbals. It’s true that it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. When having a conversation, be sure to make eye contact, nod, smile and be relaxed. Don’t be afraid to use your hands to be expressive. It shows personality!

4. Follow-Up. Many great conversations begin at networking events, and unfortunately, end at them, too. Keep the conversation going by following up with a card, email, phone call or LinkedIn connection. When following up, specifically reference what you learned from the conversation.

Meeting new people is fun! Relax and enjoy it. Happy networking!