No matter where you are in your career, networking is an important skill set to cultivate and put to use. For your next event, make a plan and be purposeful.

Greet the folks you know, of course. And, keep moving.   Set a goal to expand your network by meeting 4 to 5 new people and exchanging contact information. Have a few conversation starters in mind, phrase such as, “I see you work for XYZ company, what’s your role there?” Or, “This is my first time here. Tell me about your connection with this group.”

Give the person you’re speaking with your full attention. No wandering eyes or distracted behavior. Make the tone of your comments positive. You want people to feel good having met you. When it’s time to move on, shake hands, call the person by name and say, “It was good to meet you. I’m going to move on and say hello to a few others.”

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