In the age of “it’s all about who you know,” networking has become an important activity for anyone looking to build business links in and around their field of work. For those who are unfamiliar to this word, the dictionary definition is the act of “interacting with people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further ones career.” Usually this is done at designated professional events or causally in a variety of settings, making weddings no exception. However, weddings can be a sensitive occasion, so it would be of benefit to have a few guidelines to follow.
Below are some dos and don’ts of wedding networking.
Do bring business cards
Business cards are convenient because they help you avoid having to jot down your email and phone number for someone. When it comes to weddings, Lifehack.org says the only time you should give out your business card is when someone asks for it.
Do keep the conversation as casual as possible
Remember, you are at wedding, not an actual networking event. Shy away from starting conversations by asking what someone does and then talking about professions the entire time. Lifehack.org recommends starting with more lighthearted conversation and if there is a connection, the floor will usually open to explore other topics, like work life.
Do be aware of how much you drink
If you chose to drink alcohol at the wedding and you also have the plan to do some networking, be conscious of how much you drink. Building connections has everything to do with first impressions and though you want to leave a lasting one, you do not want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Do know what you bring to the table
Forbes.com says having an idea about what you offer, in the professional sense, will help you sell yourself better. Know what you would like to get out of making these contacts; it can be anything from meeting people from different areas who have a similar profession, or starting relationships that you hope to be able to build upon later.
Don’t be pushy
Not everyone is at the wedding to talk occupation. Be mindful and respect that others are likely there to show their support of the couple and have a good time. If no one asks for your card or if someone switches the topic away from business, leave it be. Forbes.com warns that pressing the industry agenda with too much vigor can come off as desperate or arrogant.
Don’t make the wedding only about networking
Going to a wedding with the sole purpose of furthering your career can make it obvious to everyone that that’s your only reason for being there. Weddings are a good place to network, but do it in moderation.
Don’t forget that this is a celebration for the bride and groom.
Don’t bother the bride or groom about introductions
You may already have an idea of certain people you want to speak with at the wedding. Either introduce yourself, or ask a mutual acquaintance for an introduction. Lifehack.org says that the bride or groom should not be that mutual contact you ask for an introduction, unless it is sometime after the wedding day.
Don’t avoid making non-work related connections
Even if you don’t think someone will be of help to you in your professional journey, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still be a valuable person to know or even a good friend to have. If you genuinely enjoyed having a conversation with them, why not have more? It wouldn’t be a negative to leave a wedding only having had good conversation with people outside of your field.
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