Every day it becomes more apparent that who you know is just as important as what you know. Networking events happen all the time and there are many opportunities to meet and connect with others to build for the future. These events are much more than just showing up. Learning how to make use of your communication and interpersonal skills is vital in seizing the moment during networking affairs. Here are five tips on making the best of your next networking event.

1. Be Yourself

The purpose of a networking event is to make connections. Whether personal or professional interactions, always present your true self. This is an opportunity to build and grow, so don’t jeopardize it by coming off as inauthentic.

2. Dress to Impress

Present your best self. Make sure you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. As trivial as it sounds, an outfit can have a huge effect on how many people you connect with at an event. Be confident in what you’re wearing and make sure it’s appropriate to the occasion.

3. Introduce Yourself to the Host

Outside of it being the polite thing to do, meeting the host is also helpful in building relationships at the event. More than likely the host is aware of who is attending the event and can possibly introduce you to people. Getting in good with the host can also help you find out about more networking events in the future.

4. Build the Relationship

You don’t have to talk to everyone at a networking event, but you should be planting roots. The conversations you do engage in should hopefully lead to the exchange of information. In order for that to happen, take the time to invest in the conversation.

5. Follow Up with Your Connects

Don’t let your mingling go to waste. Reaching out to your new contacts is vital in making a network event successful. Make an effort to either email, call or text within a week or two of the event. Set up another time to talk or meet up to continue to build your relationship.

What are your tips to make the best of a networking event? Leave your ideas in the comments below!