Whether you’re fond of networking events or not, you can’t deny that networking events are integral to a life of a business professional. Networking events are a great opportunity to meet new individuals and grow your connections.
Meeting the right people can help you land a job or a contract.
While none of us can deny the potential of a good networking event, not many of us take the time out to plan how we can get the most out of a networking event. Being prepared is important because it will help you land the contacts you want without appearing as either pushy or standoffish.
Here are 3 tips that will help you nail your next networking event.
Attend the Event with a Purpose.
Networking events can offer tremendous potential. To make sure you get the most out of your next networking event. Plan ahead. Decide what you want to achieve from the event. You may be going there to find potential employers, you may be attending the event to find customers, or you be going to simply strengthen your network to influence your personal brand.
By knowing what you seek to achieve, you will be able to target the right people and therefore you’re more likely to make the desired connections.
Listen, Listen, Listen
In his book, “How to win friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie explained that as humans we love people who listen to us. We want to be heard more often than we want to hear others. Many people will consider you to be a great conversationalist simply because you listen to them intently. This principle holds true in networking as well.
Learn from the experiences of other people. Listen more than you talk. Listen to understand, rather than to answer. You’ll notice people become more receptive once you give them genuine attention. Not only will you make a great impression, but you’ll also walk away with great leads and contacts for the future.
If you have a list of attendees at the event, be sure to do your homework on them before the event. Look them up on Linkedin and try to learn as much as you can about their interests. This will help you spark the right kind of conversations with them.
Be involved in as many conversations as you can. Some will be very important some will be basic surface topics. Either way make sure you are engaging and listening for details to help you connect with others.
People tend to gravitate towards those who share similar interests to them. If your research shows that you have similar characteristics to any of the key attendees be sure to point those out to help break the ice.
After each conversation make sure you make a lasting impression on your peers and reach out to them to continue to conversation over a coffee or lunch.
People love to talk about themselves and share their experiences. Engage other by asking lots of questions about their experiences in life and business. People will remember you, if you’re genuinely interested to learn from their experiences.
Don’t be “Pushy”
Try to gather more business cards and phone numbers then handing yours out. Don’t be the person that forces their business card on people with in the first sentence of speaking to them. This will certainly ruin your first impression and any chances you have of networking.
This also applies to your product/service. Don’t pitch your product or service to every other guy. People hate that. Use the networking event to make the right connections and gather leads that you can contact later. Never try to sell your product or service directly at the event.
Go to networking events to make relationships by genuinely connecting to other, and building relationships. Once your prospective customers warm up to you, you can call on them at a later time with a sales pitch.
Focus on quality not quantity
5 meaningful conversations made with the right people are far more valuable than 20 superficial conversations made in a short duration of time. Focus on the quality of your interactions. Listen to people, make them feel good about themselves by giving them genuine attention. People are more likely to remember people that made them feel good.
In summary, go to your next networking event with a clear purpose. Do your homework in advance on people who you want to get connected to. During the event, listen to others, ask questions, and make sure you leave a lasting impression by being considerate to others and making them feel good about themselves. Just a little bit of effort before the event can help you stand out in the crowd and make the most out of the networking session.