Weddings are a fun time to celebrate the union of two people who love each other. However, for anyone not directly involved in the wedding party, weddings can often become boring and stilted. There are plenty of ways you can keep yourself occupied at weddings. A wedding is one of the best places to network among friends and acquaintances. If you choose to use a friend’s wedding as a networking opportunity, there are a few guidelines you should follow that will keep your interactions appropriate.
Ways to Turn Your Friends’ Weddings into a Networking Event
I.Ask for introductions
A wedding is the perfect place to meet new people. This is one of the best ways to widen your circle of business associates. If you do not know someone, simply ask someone you do know for an introduction. If you can’t find anyone that knows the person you want to meet, you can make a note to ask the bride or groom after the wedding for an introduction. Please don’t bother the bride and groom for networking help at their own wedding. If you’re feeling extra bold, go ahead and approach a stranger on your own.
II.Bring business cards
Business cards are the perfect tool at weddings because they communicate all of your necessary details in one place. If you meet someone who could make a good work associate in the future, giving them a business card is the perfect way to stay in touch. However, at a wedding, you do not want to push business too hard. Only hand out a business card if someone asks for it. This will prevent you from looking pushy or too personally focused on yourself on your friend’s special day.
III.Small talk before shop talk
Never launch directly into business talk. Allow business and work topics to come up naturally in the conversation. Usually it will, because after comments on the weather and how nice the bride looks, there is often little else for people to discuss. At this point, many people will ask you about your career, which is an invitation for you to share a little about what you do and get some networking in.
IV.Keep business conversations short
No matter how into a business conversation you are, lengthy conversations about business at a wedding can detract from the joy of the event. Even if you are at the wedding with a work associate, it is best to keep shop talk to short conversations. If you must have extended conversations about work topics, take the conversation out of the main room where the wedding reception is taking place out of respect for the bride and groom.
V.Network on the sidelines
Never exchange personal details and business cards out in the main part of the action, such as on the dance floor. Keep business networking interactions off to the sidelines. This will keep the attention from you and on the bride and groom where it belongs. No bride wants to see someone conducting business in the middle of her wedding, and you should respect that. You can always take your conversation or exchange to another room or outside the main wedding area.
VI.Do not disclose personal details
Weddings typically serve alcohol, and if you are not careful, you may end up disclosing more personal information that you would like to casual acquaintances. If you want to use a wedding as a networking opportunity, do not overindulge in alcohol. Keep a clear head to avoid any embarrassing situations that could cause your image to become tarnished and all of the hard work you put into networking to fly out the window.
If you these tips, you will find that weddings can be a great place to find potential co-workers, associates, clients, and professional contacts that can help you in your career. As long as you observe a few rules of common sense and courtesy while at the wedding to show respect to the bride and groom and you can take advantage of all of the networking available to you.
Featured photo credit: Bride and Groom Under Archway via Shutterstock