Networking events are fantastic opportunities to meet the people behind local businesses and turn them into potential customers
. These events put you face-to-face with fellow professionals and allow you to establish your brand in the local business community. To ensure your upcoming meet-up is as profitable
as possible, read our top 10 useful tips for making the most of networking events.
1. Do your research
What are the professional backgrounds of the event’s speakers? Who else is attending and what sort of companies do they work for?
You can usually find this sort of information online, whether that’s on the venue’s website, on meetup.com
(if the event is listed there) or by doing a little research on LinkedIn
The more time you spend looking into everyone into advance and gauging where business opportunities might lie
, the more you’ll be able to get out of the event. You should go to the event already knowing who you want to speak to
and what you want to talk to them about.
2. Polish your LinkedIn profile
After the event, your new prospects will likely look up your name on LinkedIn. Make sure beforehand, then, that your profile is completely filled in with up-to-date, detailed information
. A great impression made in person can easily be tainted by a weak online presence
3. Business cards have multiple uses
Business cards are a must at networking events – they’re a great way to equip your new acquaintances with the contact details
they will need to get in touch later.
However, the business cards your fellow attendees give you are helpful in another way: helping you remember who’s who
Throughout the evening, you’ll probably speak to many people about many things. By jotting down a few notes
on the back of each business card, detailing what you discussed and even what they looked like, you’ll make your life a lot easier later on when you want to follow up with an email and need to jog your memory about who the card belonged to.
4. Charm others with these 3 techniques
In order to impress
other professionals and ensure they remember you in a positive light, take on board these three secrets of social success
a) Listen more than you talk
By letting the other person talk rather than interrupting with a long speech about your own business, you’ll come across as genuinely interested
in what your fellow attendee has to say.
b) Everyone loves to hear their name
People love to hear their first names spoken by others and tend to pay more attention
when this is the case, so make sure to drop in the person’s forename every now and then.
c) Be aware of your body language
People read a lot into body language and you may not realise that your natural pose and mannerisms are not as friendly as you intend to appear. Try to look relaxed, open and approachable. Avoid crossing your arms – keep them to your sides or use them to gesture as you speak. While the other person is speaking, smile and nod lots to show that you are listening.
5. Avoid the hard sell
While your end goal is to gain business, nobody likes to feel as if the person speaking to them is only interested in making money. Keep the conversation light-hearted and friendly
and go off the topic of business every now and then to really make a lasting connection
with your fellow attendees.
6. Prepare your elevator pitch
Every professional should be able to sum up who they are, what they do and how they can help
in the time it takes to travel in a lift. You may be asked at the beginning of the event to introduce yourself, so be prepared to answer the question in a concise, engaging
7. Always assume you’re speaking to the head of the company
Though you’ll want to talk to the decision makers, you should treat everyone at the events as equals. Somebody who may not appear that important could later introduce you to a more senior figure
, so you need to impress them too.
8. Your exit matters more than the way you walked in
The way you leave the event can make all the difference. Rather than rushing off, ensure you go back and say goodbye
to everyone you’ve had a conversation with. Make certain to reiterate any agreements
you made to get in touch or favours you were promised.
9. Follow up with everyone within 24 hours
No matter how busy you are in the days following the event, make time to follow up with your fellow event-goers by sending an email, making a phone call or at least connecting with them on LinkedIn. The longer you leave it, the less sincere
you will seem about any promises you made
10. Attend another networking event in the near future
A great way to build on the connections you make is to become a regular attendee of local networking events. As you become a familiar face
to the organisers and regulars, you’ll find yourself being introduced to others without even having to ask
What’s your best networking tip? Share it by leaving a comment below.
About the team behind this blog post
De Facto Software is a leader in ERP solutions and web/app design and development. Find out more about our ERP software and the online services we provide.