Networking: not just collecting contacts, but planting relations – how to prepare right for a networking event
When it comes to starting your own business, there’s one thing for sure: there’s no way around networking. It can boost you to the next level professionally, while simultaneously enhancing different aspects of your personal life. Good thing there’s a networking event just around the corner pretty much all the time. But what is it that one needs to take care of when meeting potential business partners and building these important relationships? How does one make a positive, lasting impression on someone? CODE_n got you covered on how to prepare right for a networking event – as a visitor AND as an exhibitor.
How to prepare for a networking event as a visitor:
Rule #1: network with purpose
Since time is valuable and never enough, you need to make the right choice on which networking events you actually need to go to. Industry/market fit, costs, featured testimonials and items on the agenda are aspects to be considered when making your choice.
Rule #2: be up-to-date
Now that you have limited the number of events on your business agenda, you need to make sure you are well prepared for those you have selected. How to do so? Easy: research. Ideally, you have some background knowledge on who’s hosting the event, who’s invited and who’s taking part in the panel discussion or giving a guest speech. If there’s indeed a panel discussion, it’s recommendable to prepare a question to ask. Since it takes courage to stand before a crowd, it might be the perfect opportunity to show some confidence and consequently leave a lasting impression.
Rule #3: prepare an “icebreaker”
Finding the right approach to communication requires a great deal of sensitivity. What you need is an icebreaker that easily leads into a pleasant chat. Sometimes it can even come in handy to wear a “Conversation Starter”. Since there’s a sea of people attending these events, the first thing they will notice is your physical appearance. A polished professional yet unique look represents the perfect fit for the scenario.
How to prepare for a networking event as an exhibitor:
Rule #1: advertise your event
Before an exhibition, it’s worthwhile letting your contacts, clients and potential customers know about the event. Apart from Social Media Marketing, it’s also recommendable to send a newsletter and personalized emails. Make sure to include some details about the Expo into your extern communication and keep the social media activity level high on the day with live posts and videos, etc.
Rule #2: define your key objectives
It’s always important to know the real goal to find the proper means to achieve it. Same applies to networking events. What is it you want to want to achieve with it? Build brand awareness? Promote or demonstrate a specific product or service? Take new orders on the day? It is vital to define beforehand key objectives that create a guideline for you to follow when planning your event but also while taking part of it.
Rule #3: socialize
Just because you pack up and go home, doesn’t mean the event, or its purpose, is over. Remember to follow up on any leads you made and build social media connections with them. Make sure to expand the good contacts you made so they are advantageous for both parties.
If you want successful results for your next networking event this great knowledge on how to prepare for it should help you – but here is one last tip for after the event: make sure you organize all your new contacts and keep them posted so you can preserve the planted relationship. Check out the event section on our website to schedule the next opportunities to test your networking skills. We are looking forward to seeing you soon.