In the previous blog we spoke about why you need to network, and some of the basics of networking for business. This was to provide a simple framework to build upon, so that in this blog we could get into the nitty gritty aspects of networking.
Here are some tips on how to master your next networking event.
Preparing before the event
A lot of the time, networking events seem like that first party you went to when you were 12. There are going to be a bunch of people that you don’t know there and you want to make a good impression. Much like the moments before the party, you will find yourself inside your room looking at yourself in the mirror with a myriad of conflicting feelings.
Half of you is excited and can’t wait for the event, and the other half is scared about getting rejected and having it all go terribly wrong.
The first thing that we suggest to overcome this fear is to “set up” some interactions before you go to the event. This will make it easier once you actually arrive because you will feel like the ice has already been broken. Many of these networking events reveal the group list prior to the event, so you can send a message to some of the people you want to talk to beforehand.
Just a simple “Hey, I see that you are going to X event tonight and that you work in Y industry, I was wondering if you wanted to have a chat tonight?” will make the whole thing a lot easier. Once you walk in, you can approach these people with ease.
If you are not a natural extrovert, it can feel daunting being thrown into the social deep end. For this reason, you need to prepare yourself mentally for the event and getting into a social mood. Do whatever it takes to help you loosen up. Listen to some music, dance around etc., but we don’t recommend drinking before the event.
At the Event
Although networking events are about business underneath it all, the way that communication is facilitated is through social interactions. This means that you need to be good at being social and not just at pushing your message.
Now, your message is very important and is not something that should be forgotten, quite the contrary. But you do not want to be the person that is essentially a walking telemarketer for your business and hassling people with sales pitches.
So you need to be able to be someone who has a message, but is friendly. This means employing the basics of general socialising. Here is a list of tips that we recommend:
After the Event
Now that you have connected with a lot of people, it is time to start nourishing those relationships.
The first thing you should do is add the people that you met on LinkedIn. Send them a message letting them know that it was good to meet them and that you enjoyed speaking to them. Try to include a little piece of the conversation that you had so that they will remember you. It will also make the message feel more personal.
If you made a very promising connection with someone that could be turned into a collaborative endeavour, call them the next day and set up a meeting to discuss it further.
And most importantly, keep going to events!
Check out out blog on Why You Need to Network
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