Networking events can produce great opportunities, and help you make valuable, even career-altering connections.
They give you an opportunity to exchange ideas, meet like-minded people, prospects, and even competitors. But a lot of us don’t take advantage of these types of networking events.
And in doing so, we miss out on valuable business opportunities.
So, how can you make the most of these events? Here are some simple tips for networking events that will help you make more, and better connections.
Think Twice About Bringing Friends
There’s nothing wrong with bringing friends with you, except for the fact that you might be prone to lean on them and use them as a crutch. Give yourself this comfort zone and you’re less likely to do what you came to the event to do – network.
Of course, if a friend is able to make a valuable introduction for you, or, there are other reasons for which you think they’re more likely to be an asset than a crutch – go for it.
Do Your Research
Are there any big name attendees that you want to meet? This is your chance. But don’t go in and wing it completely. Check out their LinkedIn profiles beforehand, learn a bit about and their history, and check out the common connections between you.
These are all things you can use for conversation “fuel” and give yourself the best chance at making a solid connection.
Approach with Confidence
We recently wrote about how to make a great first impression – go back and check that out if you haven’t yet. It’s a huge part of approaching with confidence.
You’ll want to make strong eye contact, stand up straight, give a firm handshake, smile, and introduce yourself. This will signal that you’re confident and purposeful.
Focus on Giving Value
When you’re talking to someone new, do you ever get the sense that they’re out to “get something” from you? Somehow, you can feel that they have an ulterior motive. This is the behavior of a value leech.
You want to do the opposite.
Instead of looking to “get something” from the people you talk to, focus on trying to give as much as you can. Give them an opportunity to speak about themselves and their interests, and listen and relate to their answers.
If you think of a connection they could benefit from, offer to make it. Have insight on a problem they are facing? Let them know.
When you focus on giving value, people will appreciate it and you’ll get the value back tenfold.
Have Your Elevator Speech Ready
You’ll be talking to a lot of people – so, you’ll need a quick, easy way to introduce yourself that conveys who you are and what you do.
Take time prepare a 30 second “elevator speech”, and rehearse it a few times to yourself. This will make networking much easier, and quell any anxiety you have about approaching new people.
Networking events can help you meet prospects and other people in your field, and not only give you a better understanding of your industry, but a chance to earn more customers.
What is your strategy for getting the most out of networking events? Let us know in the comments below!