Tips to Blitz Your Next Networking Event
Monday, July 3, 2017
Best Tips to Blitz Your Next Networking Event
It’s that inevitable part of business life that strikes dread straight into the hearts of most people. Networking is an essential pastime for anyone looking to move their way up the corporate ladder and yet so many people fail to utilise it to its full potential. Read on and discover how you can help set yourself apart at your next networking event.
Success is in the Cards
The almighty business card is a popular and highly effective tool that has been used by business professionals for generations. However, there is a strong strategic importance over when and how you present your business card to a potential contact.
First and foremost it’s important not to portray yourself as a card spammer. If you’ve been to a few networking events you would likely have encountered a person who comes up to you, makes some light banter, gives you their card and moves onto the next person to do the exact same routine. I bet you that you didn’t call them up afterwards did you? You must communicate your value to a potential client and build a genuine rapport before you even think of offering a card to them. You need to make them want it.
Furthermore, place more emphasis on collecting business cards rather than handing them out. People tend to have an inherit dislike towards someone who looks like they’re only out for themselves. It also carries with it the added benefit of growing your own network in the process.
There is one last pivotal step in this process and that is what to do after an exchange has been made. Chances are you have just learned a considerable amount about this person (their skills, interests etc.) and now you’ll want to retain it. The best way to do so is to simply jot down a few key dot points on the back of their business card that you can use in your next correspondence with them.
Strategy is the Road to Victory
Just like all the best generals about to go into battle, having a well thought out strategy is essential if you want to be successful. Before even walking through the door you need to consider who you want to meet, what your goals are as well as knowing your skills and strengths off by heart.
Once you are actually at the event there is no shortage of strategies you can implement to get the most out of it. If there were a high profile contact you’d like to meet it would be wise to try and secure a strategic introduction. If you have a mutual contact explain your intentions to them and the chances are they will be happy to help. This makes a much better first impression and takes the edge of you as opposed to if you approached them cold.
This being said one must not forget the benefits of networking ‘down’. Networking events are filled with people who are of a similar level to you or perhaps even lower. Do not let a person’s job title lead you to dismiss them as unimportant. You never know what kind of connections they have or where they might end up in five years time. Aside from that it grows your network pool and who knows, maybe you might just make a new friend.
The Art of Conversation
Some say it’s an art, other say it’s a science. However, no one denies the importance conversation plays in networking. It is essential that you best optimise your time spent conversing in order to leave the best impression as well as to help you reach your goals.
Arguably the best thing you can do for yourself when talking to potential contacts is to skip the sales pitch and just be yourself. There is no logic in starting off a relationship with a lie (business or otherwise), so instead invest your time and effort into finding common ground and building a genuine relationship off that.
While talking with this person make sure to figure out how you can be useful to them. Assess what their needs are and connect your skills to them. Furthermore, end your conversation by letting them know that they can contact you if they need assistance on any of their projects. This is usually a good moment to present them with your business card.
The Day After
So you’ve survived your latest networking event, now what?
Above all else you’ll want to make sure all the work you’ve done isn’t in vain. To this end, make sure that you keep in touch with the contacts you’ve met. It only takes a few minutes to shoot off an email and the results of which can be invaluable. Use the dot points you’ve made on the back of their business cards to give your email more of a personal touch.
If you want to create a lasting relationship make sure to keep the dialogue constant in the days, weeks and months after your initial meeting. Even if it’s as simple as forwarding an interesting article or asking if you can assist on any of their projects, it is important that you don’t disappear on them. With any luck your persistence will pay off and you may soon find yourself moving on to bigger and better things.