The Psychology of Networking: How to Connect with People at Events

May 29, 2024

The very essence of networking is forming connections that last. It’s not about an exchange of business cards that would never be used. We meet tens of hundreds of people on a daily basis, but they’re like passing clouds; not many make an impression on you that will last a lifetime. At its core, networking is all about making the other person remember you when the time comes.

The epitome of a network is when both parties have something to offer in mutual interest and end up benefiting one another. Understanding the nuances of the human mind helps people connect organically with people at events. 

1. The Principle of Reciprocity

Everything is a little bit of give-and-take. The quintessence of the human mind makes them naturally inclined towards returning a favour after having received one. When networking, offer help or share knowledge without expecting anything immediately in return. This creates a positive impression and opens the door for mutual collaboration in the future. 

“For instance, if someone is looking for a contact in a specific industry and you can facilitate an introduction, do so.“

2. Mirroring and Building Rapport

Mirroring and matching are techniques rooted in the psychology of human interaction. Humans have an innate tendency to connect with others who seem familiar. Subtly mirroring the body language, tone, or speech patterns of the person you're networking with can create an unconscious bond. It signifies agreement and understanding, making the conversation flow more smoothly.

“If a contact speaks slowly and deliberately, try to match their pace rather than speaking rapidly.”

3. The Power of Active Listening 

Listening and active listening are dissimilar terms. Being an active listener means fully concentrating on, understanding, and responding to the speaker. It's a powerful tool in networking, as it makes the other person feel valued and understood. For example, when someone is discussing their business challenges, listen intently and offer insights. If there is nothing in common, be interested in their answers.

4. The Halo Effect 

First impressions are the almost-instant conclusions we draw when meeting someone for the first time. People tend to carry forward their initial judgments. Dressing appropriately for the event, being punctual, and engaging in positive small talk can set the tone for a fruitful networking opportunity. Being prepared with a concise and impactful introduction can be easily remembered.

5. The Familiarity Principle

People tend to develop a preference for things they are familiar with. Make yourself familiar. Attending regular industry events or joining discussions in community forums can make one a familiar face, making networking at subsequent events more effortless. Engaging with industry peers on social platforms before events can also foster this familiarity. For example, they can check who is speaking at a conference and connect with them on LinkedIn or social media beforehand.

6. Emotional Resonance

Emotions are a normal and essential part of who we are as humans. They help coordinate interpersonal relations and play a pivotal role in forming connections that last. Sharing personal stories or experiences that evoke emotions can lead to deeper, more genuine connections. For example, find people who have led the same function as yours so that you can check with them on how they handled the same scenario when presented with it. 

7. Value Authenticity

Being superficial and inauthentic won’t help you lay the foundation for your connections with other people. More often than not, people want genuine interest, honest insights, and a real desire to connect. In an age of polished personas, authenticity stands out. Instead of just promoting one's services or products, discuss the passion and purpose behind them, because that would be more impactful.

Networking is an art anyone can master with the useful insight and principles mentioned in this article. Take these with you to your next event and watch your networking skills truly transform. The tips and tricks mentioned in this article would enable you to forge genuine connections that last a lifetime. 


Angelin Bershiya - Marketer