We engage in networking every day. From our neighbourhood to religious institutions, schools, and events, we get to meet people. As long as you leave your house, you are very likely to meet people and interact. However, we need to turn these endless meetings into fruitful business opportunities.
Indeed defines networking as “establishing professional relationships with other individuals”. It involves meeting people within and outside your industry to share useful ideas and perspectives. Networking aids in building valuable and progressive connections that lead to business and individual growth.
There are several places you can meet with people and have the opportunity to network. It could be online platforms, seminars, conferences, industry events and club/group gatherings, amongst others. It is now left to you to make good use of these events for the benefit of your business and also yourself, as an individual. In this article, I will share some tips on how you can network effectively at events.
This defines the motive for your attendance. Before you attend any industry event or any event at all, set specific goals you will like to achieve with your attendance. Be intentional about attending these events. Don’t just go with the flow and walk in and out like every other guest.
Set goals, such as meeting prospective clients and networking with prospective partners. This way, your interaction and composure will be guided. Know that you are attending the event for a reason. Take your business cards with you too, so that you have something to show to people, even without engaging in long conversations. Have your elevator pitch lines at the back of your palm and be ready to engage intelligently.
Although, this depends on the event. You can’t wear a suit to a casual club gathering. However, if it is an industry event, or one that will accommodate professionals, you should also look like one. You shouldn’t dress shabby, as no one will take you seriously. Dress and smell as good as possible.
Be aware that you aren’t going there to blab your company culture into the ears of everyone that cares to listen. You must also listen to others. While others are speaking, whether the speakers at the event or those who sit close to you, do well to listen actively.
Make a mental picture and analysis of what they are saying and respond accordingly. They will appreciate you better if you are an attentive person. This will help you know how and where to start off your pitch.
Right from your introduction, you should be clear and concise with your statements. Avoid the temptation to use industry margins or complicated words. Your audience won’t appreciate that. Be straightforward about your intentions. Whether it is to secure partnerships, investments or job opportunities, be clear from the onset, so they aren’t confused as to exactly what you want.
One great thing you can do for yourself during an event is to note what each person has said. For every one you interact with, take note of their responses and do well to follow up as swiftly as possible. This could be through mail, call or text, depending on the agreed medium of communication. This will let them know that you are serious-minded.
For you to network effectively at events, you need to build your listening, communication and social skills. Be willing to put yourself out there, because if you don’t, no one will do that on your behalf.
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