Top 10 Ways To Make The Most Out Of A Networking Event
Networking is an invaluable tool for success. While it may be tempting to establish connections online only, in-person meetups ultimately lead to more opportunities. To get the most out of a networking event, it is vital to plan ahead, so that you will make a memorable first impression and be prepared for success. Below are ten tips that are sure to bring you a positive experience and rewarding results.
BEFORE THE EVENT
1. Pack plenty of business cards (and a pen!)
There’s nothing worse than rummaging through your handbag for your last business card just when you finally meet the perfect contact. Think ahead and make sure you have more than enough to go around— and have a pen handy so that you can jot down notes when needed.
2. Practice your elevator speech
This short message or ‘commercial’ about who you are must be compelling and inspire your listener to want to know more. Because you only have approximately thirty seconds, make sure that you are confident about what you want to communicate and practice it until you can introduce yourself without hesitating.
3. Dress appropriately
Even before you say a word, your clothing sends a message about who you are. Keep that in mind when selecting your outfit and wear something that will allow you to be taken seriously.
4. Research the event, keynote speakers, sponsor companies, etc., and set goals on what you would like to accomplish
Be informed and have a plan! Arriving at an event without any idea of what to expect can rob you of confidence and compromise your chances of getting the most out of it. Do your research in advance so that you know exactly why you want to be there and what you can expect. Make a clear plan of what you want to achieve and stay focused throughout the event.
5. Review the attendee list and decide who you would like to meet and what you would like to discuss
Events can often be overwhelming, and time may not allow for you to meet every person in the room. Pick your most important contacts in advance and create a list of topics you want to cover. You might not get it all in, but it will keep you focused on your end goal.
6. Update your LinkedIn profile
It’s important to ensure that connections made in person will translate to profitable relationships. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is current so that you can tell others where to find you, instead of apologizing that your online presence is out-of-date.
AFTER THE EVENT
1. Send a thank you note to the host
Be gracious and show appreciation even when you may have no personal agenda. People are remembered and appreciated for being polite and well-mannered.
2. Connect with everyone on LinkedIn, and follow up with an email
To benefit from the interaction at the event, it’s vital to solidify connections once you get home. Your best leads have met many others, and you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle. Make a point to remind the connection what you discussed and how you hope to move forward.
3. Schedule a future call or coffee date
It’s easy for connections to fall by the wayside if they are not maintained. In-person meetups offer an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships and stay relevant. Don’t to wait for the other party to initiate- if you want something, go for it!
4. Sign up for your next networking event
Successful people never rest. You may be tempted to take a break after you’ve reached an important goal, but you never know what life-changing opportunity is right around the corner.