The benefits of attending networking events are clear, you have the opportunity
to network with industry leaders that can give you valuable business, help you build lasting relationships, and build a strong referral network. With the abundance of events popping up daily, it’s important to beware that although you think you may be networking, you may be notworking. Doing so will result in a loss of valuable time/money for you and your company.
Networking, like any relationship is a 2-Way Street, in that both parties are equally giving, taking and striving towards success. Some events combine a wealth of information and resources. Those attending are there for the same reason you are, to gain more business. For this reason alone it is essential to be prepared before the event, know what to do during the event and have a plan to follow up with prospects after the event. Following the tips below will guarantee you get the most out of every event and truly Network vs. Notwork!
Before the Event
1. Research: Find out what companies will be in attendance and what positions are held. This will help you identify the people you want to speak with first.
2. Know Your Business: Rehearse your 30 second elevator pitch. Make sure it is Clear, Concise, Clear, Powerful, Visual, Targeted, Goal-oriented, and has a hook!
3. Update Your LinkedIn: Include your latest and greatest achievements.
4. Be Prepared: Charge your phone/iPad/tablet before an event, you will use them to gather information. Bring a pen & don’t forget to bring extra business cards!
5. Find a Friend: This will help ease any tension you may have as well as give you the opportunity to be introduced to others.
Need help breaking the ice? Click here for some ideal conversation starters!
During the Event
1. ALWAYS arrive on time. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.
2. Show Confidence: Maintain eye contact, use positive body language, have a firm handshake, show appreciation for time given. Don’t forget to smile! Confidence, not cockiness, is key.
3. Be Fearless: Step out of your comfort zone and engage with strangers! Walk up, stick out your hand, introduce yourself, ask what they do, and listen, don’t interrupt.
4. Have the Essentials at Hand: Wear a name tag, not all events provide them and they are an economical way to show your professionalism. Have business cards in an easy to reach location. Keep a pen close.
5. Stand Out: What makes you different? Why should that person connect with you?Like a job interview, setting yourself apart from the rest will create opportunities for you in the future.
After the Event | Extend Your Last Impression
Send personalized thank you e-mails/notes to all you meet. Give a suggestion as to how you can help their business. If you don’t hear a response. Wait a few days and reach out in other ways. If you don’t hear a response. Wait a few days and reach out in other ways. Send a LinkedIn request with a short message. Make a phone call.
1. Check your text messages, emails, answer phone calls, etc. while engaging in a networking conversation. Talk about unprofessional!
2. Pitch your prospect! Networking is about “Relationship Building” If they can’t use your product/service now, they may in the future or they may know someone that can use it. Don’t be pushy, it sends out a bad vibe.
3. Forget to say Thank You! Forget to follow-up! Relationships require maintenance.
4. Wear too much cologne or show too much cleavage. You don’t want to leave the wrong impression.