Networking is easier than it ever used to be, particularly with the ability to simply head online and talk to people on social media. However, there is perhaps nothing stronger than attending an event and introducing yourself in person. While it’s possible to network with people at the click of a button, heading to an event to spark conversations is going to prove much more beneficial.
It’s important to find the right networking events to attend, check who will be in attendance to ensure the audience is right for you. TopResume encourages you to look for events in your area of interest and read reviews so you know what to expect. Not only will picking the right event make it more enjoyable, but it’ll also make it easier for you to meet the right people and make good connections.
Have a few people in mind that you wish to talk to and prepare questions around their work. Discuss any activities or work they’ve done previously, showing an interest will keep you in their mind after the event.
Once you’ve found your event, prepare yourself. Make sure you dress to impress, there is likely to be a dress code for the event, so find out what it is – but make sure you’re comfortable.
Discuss your attendance on social media beforehand, particularly on business sites such as LinkedIn. While you’re going to network with others, some people may look to network with you, so let everyone know you’re going. Perhaps interact with people beforehand, so your name is even more recognisable on the day.
Remember the reason you’re going, you need to network, so have some high-quality business cards printed beforehand. Hand them out to potential clients and employers, but make sure you stop and have a conversation with them first – don’t just hand them out to anyone. Additionally, make sure you have a pen to note down anyone’s email address or phone number if necessary.
While it’s important to network with others and have a focus for the event, it’s also vital to have a follow-up plan. Leading business magazine Forbes urges people to network further once the event is over. This involves adding people on social media such as LinkedIn or Twitter, sending them a card or giving them a quick call to ask for an appointment.
Reach out to them as soon as possible to ensure maximum success. Not only will your conversation be fresh in their mind, but you’ll also make a positive impression and pique their interest. There could be a number of competitors at the event who have also connected with potential clients, so try and get a meeting set up as soon as possible so you can pitch your ideas.
Mostly, enjoy the event and be authentic. Find people who are interested in your business and ensure you’re being completely honest about yourself and your work. Once you’ve had your first successful event, you’ll be able to attend more and make strong connections for the future.