Networking is essential for getting your name and your business out there, however for many trying to make connections in this way can feel unnatural. As a result networking events become more of a headache than an opportunity.

If this sounds familiar then don’t worry, there are some simple things you can do to make sure that networking works for you. We’ve listed our six top tips below that are sure to help you make the most of your next event.

Refine your elevator pitch
We all have one. Make sure it’s concise but adequately sums up what you do. People are busy and understandably may not have taken the time to research the attendees before arrival. Being able to quickly introduce yourself and make clear what you do before you get down to chatting is extremely important.

Be attentive
There’s little worse than going to a networking event and engaging someone in conversation, only to find that after a few minutes their eyes are wandering around the room. Make sure you’re not that person and, even if you don’t think you can offer anything to one another, take the opportunity to listen. Not only will you eave a good impression, but you may discover something that you can circle back to later.

Work out how you can add value
There’s nothing worse than meeting someone who you really want to build a professional relationship with and struggling to articulate why it’s worth connecting, even if you know that it could be mutually beneficial. Before you arrive make sure you are clear in your own head as to what you could potentially offer other attendees.

Be genuine
While business may be top of the agenda, other attendees don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to immediately. Take the time to chat about things outside your area of expertise before you get down to the more serious stuff. Be prepared to just have a conversation rather than close the deal.

Master the art of moving on
Moving from one conversation to the next can be one of the hardest parts of a networking event. The main thing to remember is that everybody in the room is there for the same reason. Once the conversation has come to a natural end, thank them for their time and move on. No one will be offended.

Bring your business cards
Believe it or not in today’s digital world there is still a place for an old fashioned business card. Networking events can be a whirlwind, so remembering the name of everyone interesting you speak to is virtually impossible. Take a handful and, if involved in a conversation you would like to continue another time, dish one out.