Attending a networking event might be putting you well and truly out of your comfort zone? But it’s well worth giving networking some thought!
Some form of networking should be part of your overall marketing strategy! It’s probably the most cost effective way to generate new business contacts!
It can also be fantastically rewarding! It’s great for personal development and confidence building!
Like all types of marketing activity, you’ll experience more positive results if you have a plan in place and have developed some key aims and objectives.
I like to break networking strategy and planning into the following 3 stages –
1. Preparation – Preparing A Networking Strategy
2. Networking – What To Do At The Event
3. Following Up – What To Do After the Event
These are my top tips for your next networking event –
Plan, plan and then plan some more.
There’s nothing worse than not being prepared. Do some research on the venue, figure out how you will get there and where you will park. Find out more about the host of the event. Is the event formal or casual? Is there a dress code? Ask for the delegate list so that you know in advance who is likely to be present.
If you’re well prepared and know what to expect, then there’s more chance that you will relax and enjoy the event.
Develop and practice your ‘elevator pitch’.
According to Wikipedia the elevator pitch is – ‘A short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value proposition.’
At a networking event the likelihood is that people are going to ask you who you are and what you do. So it’s well worth developing and practicing your ‘elevator pitch’. Find out more here.
Be genuinely interested in other people!
Don’t jump straight in and start talking about yourself. Ask open questions and be interested in other people in the room.
Always ask yourself how you can help others!
Move around – or ‘work the room’!
Don’t get too comfortable and spend the whole event talking to the same person. Move around and aim to meet several new people.
It’s great if you bump into people that you already know, but you should also be aiming to build new connections.
Concentrate on building relationships.
Don’t expect or try to sell your product or service. Networking is more about relationship building than selling.
Nobody wants to be sold to! If you attend networking events to sell, then you’ll simply damage your own credibility and develop a bad reputation on the networking scene.
The ‘follow up’ is essentially doing whatever you said that you were going to do. If you neglect the ‘follow up’, then attending the event was a waste of your time!
Not doing the follow up is simply unforgivable!
Click here to find out more about ‘What Everybody Ought To Know About Networking’.
Get out there and enjoy it!