There are a lot of business networking events out there, many of which focus on a specific industry or business type. By attending, you have the chance to learn more about what your peers are doing, and pick up any business techniques that you might not have considered. Networking is also an effective way of staying on top of industry news and developments. However, you won’t build up a valuable pool of contacts by simply attending one of these events; you need to work hard to get the most out of it. This can be done in a number of ways, four of which we have listed below.
A lot of business networking events are similar to one another, but this doesn’t mean that you can run the risk of turning up unprepared. Before you go, do as much research as you can on the topics, speakers and attendees. The more prepared you are, the less daunting a networking event will be and you can walk in with confidence. Knowing a little bit about who is going to be there will help you to find people who are worth networking with.
Instead of turning up to a business networking event and letting people come to you, seek out meaningful conversations and new connections. Don’t be shy about promoting yourself, but find a balance between self promotion and showing an interest in what others have to offer. Listen to, and engage with, other attendees at the same time as highlighting your business strengths.
It’s not enough to simply attend a business networking event, you need to actually participate. You can do this by asking questions, offering insights and getting involved in a variety of conversations. Even if you are someone who usually sits back and lets other people do the talking, try to get involved as much as you can. This will help you to connect with like minded individuals and showcase what you have to offer. It will show that you’re someone worth networking with.
Regardless of how successful your time at a business networking event was, it’s important to follow up on things afterwards. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make, even though it’s something that is quick and easy to do. You can follow up by reaching out on LinkedIn or via email to anyone you would find it useful to stay in touch with. Not only does reaching out remind them of who you are and the connection you had, but it also opens the floor for ongoing communication.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.