The Art of Networking Series 2
Before you attend the next networking event it is important to spend a little preparation time. Keep reading to get more tips.
Before you attend the next networking event it is important to spend a little preparation time. This includes finding out a more about the event, who regularly attends and the type of business and services that they offer. You can do this by looking at the hosts event website, LinkedIn and Industry sites. Look for reviews of any past events. If they are available, sign up for newsletters connected with the event and the organisers.
This is one of the golden rules for successful networking. When you arrive, don’t make a beeline for your seat. Frequently, you’ll see people at networking groups just sitting at the table staring into space before the event is due to start. Why are they sitting alone? Take full advantage of the valuable networking time before you have to sit down. Once the meeting starts, you won’t be able to mingle and meet as many people.
Make your initial contact brief and work towards setting up a follow-up meeting. It is important not try to close a sale in a networking event unless the target leads you there. What you want to do is to engage, make a positive impression, provide a “teaser”, and get a time and date to reconnect. If you are networking correctly, you will be asked a couple questions, and this is where you simply exchange business cards, then move on to the next person.
Remember that networking is a two-way street. Don’t expect new contacts to shower you with referrals and business unless you are equally generous. Follow up on your contacts; keep in touch; always share information or leads that might benefit them. You’ll be paid back tenfold for your thoughtfulness.
You have taken the first step by attending the networking event. Get back to basics with these simple but effective networking techniques. Take the time to have a bit of fun, and you will find a safe and supportive environment to expand your networking skills and to gain more confidence.
Always remember to follow up with your new connections that you make, continue to build those relationships. There isn’t a need to send out a bulk email – just pick up the phone, make the call and simply start the conversation with ‘Hello’.