You’ll come across many great networking opportunities throughout your career as a culinary professional, but taking full advantage of them is not always so easy. If you’re attending a culinary convention this will be a chance to meet with other industry professionals, keep up-to-date with hot new trends and show off your own skills if you’ve secured a booth.
Here are our top five networking tips to ensure you get the most out of it.
- Plan ahead
There’s lots to see at culinary conventions, and if you’re a young chef so much of it will be of value, so it is essential that you plan your days to ensure you get the most out of it. This includes what you plan to tell people about yourself when you’re networking.
It won’t be possible to speak to every single vendor at every single stall in a day, so make sure you know who’s attending, where they’re located and who you want to speak to the most.
- Present yourself well
First impressions count for a lot, so be sure to greet anyone you meet with a warm smile and a handshake, while decide on the most important things about yourself to talk about first. You should also think about how best to highlight your skills and strengths, and be prepared to talk about instances where you’ve demonstrated them.
- Identify your superconnectors
If you noted down all of your professional relationships and thought about how you met with these people, there’s a good chance you were introduced to the majority of these people by a few ‘superconnectors’ - at least according to the Harvard Business Review.
If any of these ‘superconnectors’ are attending the same event then rely on them to introduce you to new people, or ask them to connect you with influential people that will be in attendance ahead of time.
- Take plenty of business cards and follow up on LinkedIn
People meet and chat with lots of different people at these sorts of events, so even with the best will in the world it’s going to be difficult for the people you meet to remember your name and where you work without some sort of reminder.
This is why it is so important to take plenty of business cards with you, and if you don’t have any, get them made. You should also follow up afterwards by connecting on LinkedIn
It’s also worth keeping them in an easily accessible pocket so you’re not left fumbling in a bag when the moment comes.