Networking is a valuable tool for any level of business. It can help heighten your career to new altitudes and enrich your personal relationships. The best aspect of networking is that it builds lasting relationships.
But many people new to networking often ask, “How can I prepare for a networking event?” Fear not, we here at KBN have a few pointers to help you out:
- Identify what you wish to gain from this event
Evaluate what you will gain from attending this event. To do this, ask yourself what you and your business needs are. These could be any of the following:
- Meeting a new client(s)
- Learning from a professional presenter
- Making a new referral partner
- Seeing what businesses are in the local area
- Strengthening existing relationships
- Making yourself more visible
- Do some research before hand
Once you’ve booked an event, it’s time to gather some information. Look out for speakers at the event and read up on the topics that they would be talking about. Then, think of topics you would wish to discuss with them. This can include both the post-talk interactive sessions and the post-event networking chats with people you have chosen to interact with.
In case you are looking forward to meeting a certain person at the event, catch up with them on LinkedIn or Facebook prior to the event. The person would receive your connection request and will value it as you are showing interest in their work. Also, keep a track of people you may know who might be attending the event. Look up their networks and know their reasons for attending the event.
- Prepare a short pitch
Remember to work on a short catchy pitch, since you will be required to introduce yourself to people at networking events. Keep it brief, and in that time, give them an idea about who you are, your skills, your experience, your expectations and any other information which might be of interest to them. Here are some quick pointers to help you out:
- Present yourself: Talk about what you do and why you do it.
- Why your different: What sets you apart from the others in the industry
- Give examples: Always mention examples or clients to explain your job- tell it in a story
End your pitch with a question to continue the conversation. To ease your nervousness, try writing down your pitch or narrating it out loud. In case you are meeting people belonging to different industries, tailor your pitch accordingly.
- Dress smart or wear your logo
Wear a conversation starter. You will be only noticed if you dress sharp and for the occasion. Display a polished and professional look. Put on a smile, grab your business cards and be ready to shake some hands.
Have any secret networking tricks up your sleeves? Share it with us in the comments section below.