Attending a networking event, even with fellow members, can often be overwhelming and intimidating. To help you feel more in control, focused and optimize your experience, consider these tips:
- Look the part. There is a tendency for mental health practitioners to dress too informally. How do you want fellow members to perceive you? Align your dress with what you want to communicate about your practice.
- Have a plan. Before the event, identify certain prospects or members that you want to meet.
- Be a businessperson first and a therapist second. Conduct yourself professionally while leveraging your interpersonal skills to cultivate relationships.
- Practice your “elevator pitch”. Listeners will pay the most attention to the first 15 seconds (if that!) of what you have to say. Be succinct and clear about what you specialize in (see “Creating an Authentic Elevator Pitch”).
- Align your verbal and non-verbal body language.
- Set up 1 to 1s.
- Be organized. Keep your business cards on your person. Ask for two business cards from the other person—one to keep, the other to give away.