Remembering How to Network in Person

May 5, 2022

In-person networking events, once the standard, disappeared overnight when the pandemic struck in March of 2020. In the beginning, before Zoom fatigue settled in, many made a go of continuing conversations and gatherings online. However, the novelty wore off quickly. Virtual event attendance rates dropped from 70% to around 35% about a year after the pandemic began.

Now that society has reopened in earnest, networking events are returning in equal force. In that spirit, we recently co-hosted our first Winepreneurs event in two years. It was a welcome chance to mingle, talk business and catch up with members of the entrepreneurial community. More importantly, it served as a reminder of the great conversations and connections, old and new, that can come from meeting up with our peers in person.

However, many of us have become accustomed to the social seclusion of our pandemic bubbles and now face the task of relearning how to network at the level we once did. So, while the prospect of returning to more in-person events is exciting, it can understandably be daunting.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you through your next in-person event:

  • Review the guest/speaker list. Try to come up with a question or two to ask ahead of time.
  • Reconnect with familiar faces. New connections are great, but it’s important to keep the relationships you’ve already built healthy as well.
  • Practice your pitch. Talking face-to-face is not the same as talking to a camera.
  • Beyond COVID. Everyone naturally wants to share their COVID stories.  Thinking beyond it will help everyone put it in the rear.
  • We’re all a little out of practice.

Ultimately, we’re excited to dust off our own networking skills and return to in-person events again, where we hope we begin to see new and familiar faces alike. And remember, attending events also supports the local businesses that host them.