For many people you head to a networking even immediately after work. You probably have not eaten in 5-6 hours and you are ready to cut loose after the long work day. I have few tips about what to eat, drink, and wear at your next networking event so you can get the most out of the event. After all, you are there to meet new people and grow your personal network.
1) Eat before you come - Early eating ensures you are not ravenous and will not spend your time in the buffet line. Plus the food is never that good anyway!
2) If you must eat, keep it simple and clean - This means do not pick up foods that will dirty your hands or the greasy items that will smear your lipstick. If you have a plate, do not pile it up in a mountain. If the event has passed appetizers, take only ONE piece with a napkin. It's not a contest to see how many mini quiches you can stick in your mouth. Chubby bunny anyone?
3) Drinks: know your limit - I am not a teetotaler by any means but I usually say drink no more than 2 alcoholic beverages at networking events or, better yet, stick to club soda. This ensures you will be on your best behavior and don't forget any new names!
4) Hold plate and glass in left hand - This ensures your right hand is always ready to extend and shake the hand of the new people you will meet at the event without having to wipe off sticky/wet fingers. If you have a plate and a glass, I suggest leaving room on the plate so you can rest your glass on it and put food around it. This allows the right hand to stay free.
5) Wear dark clothes - I always vote to wear darker colored clothes on days when I know I will be out late at a networking event. Inevitably when I wear a white shirt I get salad dressing on my top at lunch and then have to wear that look out to the networking event. Dark clothes will hide any food or drink disasters. An easy dark look is below that is full of closet staples like cardigan sweaters (available in 5 colors - $46 and under), comfortableheels (also available in 5 colors - $69) and black pants. Also you will not believe the dupe I found for this Celine bag! Just click on the pictures to be taken directly to each piece in this look. Arrows scroll left and right for more products.
Do you have any rules about networking events? Please share those in the comments! Now get out there and network!
I love these tips. I put a lot of effort into the logistics when I'm attending any type of event. My outfit, having something to eat beforehand and staying with the appropriate food and drink are all key considerations.
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M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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