These days very few get excited by the term ‘networking event’. Many are likely to envision budget tablecloths, a sea of name tags and acidic wine but this is not always the case, and we urge you to think smarter!

If done correctly, the right attitude can bolster your executive support career to new heights. Networking should be about establishing meaningful connections, not seeing it as a game of supermarket sweep; always at the ready to collect as many business cards as you can.

Whether you are meeting your fellow executive support professional (head over to Links to learn more about our upcoming events) or going to an industry specific event, we are here to share the best practices to help you establish those crucial relationships that could be life changing.

Things to get excited about:

  1. You learn lessons and discover fresh tools and techniques from fellow professionals.
  2. You can be exposed to potential mentorship opportunities to guide your professional growth.
  3. Networking events can directly (even indirectly!) lead to job opportunities. This is especially crucial if you are looking to be a PA to a high-profile individual.
  4. It is never a waste of time to grow a professional network. It will increase your visibility in a particular sector and may lead to leadership positions which is essential for those aiming for positions such as Chief of Staff.

Extra Tip: Looking for networking events to go to? If you are a morning person, look for breakfast meetings before heading to the office. A Reminder: Links at Bain and Gray hold partner-led Breakfasts. If you are in a demanding role, evening options might be a more suitable choice.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Making the Most of a Networking Event

Stage 1: How to prepare for a networking event.

Your goal is to be comfortable before making an entrance. Be sure to get a good night’s rest before and do some research on the following:

  • Who are the speakers?
  • Do you know any of the attendees?
  • If not, who do you think this event is targeted to?
  • What will be the topics of discussion?

See this as laying the foundations to obtaining those crucial connections:

Step 1: Craft a concise personal story that clearly articulates your journey, skills, and experiences. Take that a step further: weave in what makes you unique and how you add value to others.

Step 2: On such occasions there is nothing more mundane than opening a conversation with ‘what do you do?’. Having a backlog of intriguing anecdotes and though-provoking questions are the key to genuine engagement.

Step 3: Mentally prepare to embrace the power of active listening! If you have a tendency to lead a conversation, make a mental note that the other attendee must be doing most of the talking. People love talking about themselves and it can lead to a treasure trove of insight about what their needs are and how you can be of service.

Extra Tip: Many networking events or organisers give a list of attendees in advance. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of those, head over to LinkedIn and study their background to see if you have any mutual connections or interests. Don’t be afraid to ask the meeting organiser to introduce you.

Stage 2: Work the room: How to Network at an Event

Prepare yourself to be friendly and approachable. Smile, make eye contact, and use open body language. If you spent the night before reminding yourself to take a genuine interest in others and their stories, you will be ready to ask the open-ended questions necessary to encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences. Here are a few basic examples:

  • What industry/company do you work in, and what do you enjoy most about it?
  • I love networking events because they're a chance to meet interesting people. What's the most exciting part for you?
  • What's the most fascinating thing you've learned at a previous networking event that you can't wait to share with someone?

Extra Tip: Given confidence is key when it comes to any interaction we have throughout our lives, we encourage you to look at one of our most popular blogs: Improve your self-confidence.

Stage 3: Follow Up

Within 72 hours of the event, follow up with the people you met. Send personalised emails or messages mentioning something specific from your conversation. Express your interest in staying connected and offer any assistance you can provide.


Growing your professional network and attending networking events are crucial for your professional and personal growth.

  • The focus of networking events is to build genuine relationships and offer value as an individual.
  • The most crucial stage is the preparation. Knowing who is attending the event and what it will be about will make a world of change to your confidence.
  • Less if more! Try to focus on speaking to less people (even just one or two). At the end of the day, you want high-quality conversations, not a mountain of business cards that will serve you no purpose.