As a professional, we all want to get ahead in our careers. Unfortunately at some point, you can feel stuck. You feel like no one is hiring you. You feel like no one wants to do business with you. You feel like you are not ‘moving up’ at your job. To avoid falling into this trap, it is a great idea to attend professional networking events in your community. You’re probably saying, “Oh no! Not professional networking! I’ll do anything but that! “ I get it. It’s one of those skills that wasn’t taught in school. Not to worry! Here are a few tips to get you through ANY event:

1. Make your first impression last
The best way to make yourself easy to remember is to wear something that stands out. For example, I always aim to wear a professional yet unique piece, like neckwear or lapel pin. An element that stands out is a conversation starter.

2. Smile!
You want to present yourself as a positive individual, so it is imperative that you smile and shake hands with the people that you interact with.

3. Talk less. Listen more
Everyone at an event wants to talk and ‘pitch’ themselves or their ideas to the people in the room. True networking is about listening more and talking less. The person who speaks the least is actually in control, sits in the seat of service because they’re learning the most about the other party and how he/she can be a resource to that person.

4. Give, give, give!
Most people will only give a resource if they know will receive something in return. When you come across someone that can benefit from a resource you have or know, just give it to them. By doing this, you will not only truly become memorable – a key to successful networking – you’ll now have someone that will be willing to refer business to you.

5. ALWAYS follow-up
We can meet a number of people within a day, and with our busy lives, it can be easy to forget meeting someone. Follow up immediately after you meet someone to stay top of mind In a world of emails, text messages, Facebook, IMs and group chats, a phone call is THE BEST way to follow up. Leave a message if you get the voicemail, and if you want to you’re your impression to another level, send a thank you card. You’ll never be forgotten!

Whether it’s an after work mixer, work event, or conference, these strategies will never leave you ‘speechless.’ Happy networking, and please let me know how I can serve you further in your career endeavors!

In addition to being a “Made Man,” Carlos V. Davis is an entrepreneur, professional speaker and professional networking coach, who is trying to change the world, one person at a time. Learn more about Carlos and how he can help your business at