Can a single conversation really change your life?

Absolutely.

Whether you’re searching for the ideal food & beverage opportunity, or searching for the ideal candidate, a simple exchange with the right person can cultivate a meaningful connection. Ultimately, a single conversation can be life-altering – connecting you with your ideal job or candidate.

Last December, Kinsa Vice President Laurie Hyllberg attended a Women’s Foodservice Forum event that focused on “Building Networks” – one of the core competencies essential for rising to C-Suite leadership within the food & beverage industry. Below, we’ve summarized the key takeaways from this exceptional presentation, so you can make the most of every conversation at your next networking event:

“Building Networks” – 4 Networking Tips

Successful networking doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of careful, intentional activities that begin well before the actual event:

Know your goals. Be deliberate, create a plan and know what your end-game is before going to the event.

  • Find out who will be there.
  • Know whom you want to meet.
  • Determine who may be able to facilitate important introductions.

Be careful, however, not to be so rigid in your goals that you miss out on unplanned opportunities that present themselves.

Know how you want to be known. Leading up to the networking event, ask yourself how you want key contacts to remember you. When you attend, pepper conversations (lightly!) with essential details people should know about you (or, if you are trying to build your candidate network, share important information about your employment brand).

Dive in. At the event, don’t just stand in the background.  Find a conversation circle and lean in so that the circle expands to include you. Start by listening. Then, when the time is right, try one of these opening questions to spark a meaningful conversation:

  1. How did you come to be at this event?
  2. I looked at the attendee list and saw [insert name] is here.  Have you seen him/her?  (The person you’re speaking with may have met the person and be able to introduce you.)
  3. Last year I went to the national conference, but this is my first time at a local/regional event.  What about you?  Have you been to this event before?
  4. It’s always hard to set aside time for these things, but so nice of [insert name] to host us tonight.  Don’t you think?

Circulate. Throughout the event, check your progress by asking, “Am I having the conversations I really need to have?” While it may be enjoyable to “talk shop” with someone you already know, remember why you’re there. Step outside your comfort zone and Increase your opportunities to connect by participating in a number of conversations with new people.

Hosting a networking event?

If you’re the one planning the networking event, consider introductory name stickers made by moo.com. Instead of “Hello, my name is:________,” these name tags are real conversation starters with phrases like:

  • “Hello, you should give me: ____________”
  • “Hello, I think: _________”
  • “Hello, I want to meet: ___________”

Connect with Kinsa – a great way to build your food & beverage network

Whether you’re searching for your next professional food & beverage career opportunity, or searching for that perfect food & beverage executive, Kinsa is your partner in success. Contact us today or search jobs online.

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