19 Ways to ‘Kill It’ at Your Next Networking Event

Networking events can be a huge boon to your career. Your new connections can spark creativity and brainstorming, land you a new job or even boost your sales. With all you stand to gain from a networking event, it's important to prepare ahead of time. Josh Rampton, contributor for Entrepreneur, compiled 19 tips you should consider when prepping.

Research key attendees before the event.
Make sure you arrive with some idea of who you want to speak with and some background information about them. LinkedIn is a great resource for professional information and finding mutual connections.

Discuss commonalities.
Before and during a conversation, look for common ground. Perceived social compatibility depends greatly on identifying similarities with others, so be sure to highlight the traits and experiences you have in common with others.

Be a connector.
While you're speaking with someone, consider other connections who might be able to help or be helped by this person. Offer to make introductions. By looking out for others, instead of focusing on yourself, you'll cultivate a positive reputation that sets you apart.

Keep an open posture.
Although this aspect is often overlooked, the right posture conveys confidence and approachability. Be sure to keep your head up and your arms and legs uncrossed.

Focus on how people feel when they're with you.
When you pay close attention to how your conversation partners feel when speaking with you, it sets you apart from all the "talkers" at the event. Listen closely, ask pertinent questions and make sure you're someone people want to talk to.

Follow up within 72 hours.
If you've ever wondered how much time you should wait before following up with your new connections, this is your answer. Any longer than 72 hours makes it seem like the relationship is unimportant to you. If you offered to provide information or an introduction, be sure to do so in a timely manner.

When it comes to setting yourself apart at a networking event, you need a purpose and a plan. Read all 19 tips at Entrepreneur, and share your own advice and strategy at #ConnectPlusBuildingConnections.